Finals week is known for the anxiety it provokes: hyperventilating in a library study room, binging on junk food, getting very little sleep, and so on. However, suffering through final exams and papers doesn’t mean we have to let go of our health and sanity. Making thoughtful, health-centered decisions can actually help you perform better on your exams and lessen your test anxiety. Here are some simple steps you can take today.
1. Load Up Your Pantry
Healthy food and meals means not crashing on coffee and junk food or dealing with stomach pains during your exam. Load up on servings of fruits and veggies. Bring fruit bars, soups, and whole wheat snacks to your study room. And don’t forget to hydrate! Water is important for keeping up your energy.
2. Take Your Vitamins
If you’re stuck with cafeteria options only, a vitamin can ensure you’re getting a dose of what you need. Some good brain-boosting vitamins are D3 (which are also great if you’re indoors during darker nights), folic acid for memory, and B-complex to help reduce stress. If you’re having trouble sleeping, go for all-natural melatonin instead of sleep aids.
3. Take Advantage of De-Stress Perks
Most likely, your college offers fun ways to de-stress during finals. Some popular ideas include cuddling with therapy dogs, getting a 10-minute massage, taking a yoga class, or learning basic meditations. You can even see if they provide nap rooms or dark spaces if you’re a commuter in need of a nap.
4. Find Time for Breaks
Breaks are important for retaining information and lowering pressure. One method you can use is called the Pomodoro Technique. Study or work for 20 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Use your phone’s timer to keep you on track. And you're easily distracted, use extensions to your browser that ban you from sites like Facebook for a period of time.
5. Keep Up Your Gym Routine
Make time to sweat! It helps clear your mind and recoup from a long day of test-taking. Plus, working out can help keep your immune system running. Another reason to get your morning run in is that routines like this can help you ease stress and give you the sense that today’s just another day, even if there’s a test at the end of it.
6. Reward Yourself With Self-Care
Who says your only reward for surviving finals should be your grade? Save up for finals week and enjoy your favorite restaurant with friends or get a manicure or pedicure. Space out your rewards so that you are motivated to stay on track. By picking relaxing rewards, you do double duty in following through and keeping your anxiety at a low.
7. Check-In With Loved Ones
If the stress is too much, don’t just carry it on your back for the entire week. Schedule a call to someone you love and trust to get your vent time in. By talking through your worries or problems, you may be able to see the solution that wasn’t there before. Reaffirming that you have someone who loves and supports you no matter what will help you survive college final week madness with your friends and family seeing you through.