Finals season—a time synonymous with late-night study sessions, copious amounts of caffeine, and, let’s be honest, a fair share of panic. As the stress levels start to climb, it’s crucial to remember that we can harness control over this seemingly chaotic period. With a blend of time-tested advice and fresh perspectives, we hope to aid in your journey toward a more balanced, focused, and successful finals experience. Buckle up, it’s time to conquer finals stress—one mindful technique at a time.
- Connect & Communicate
At the start of finals season, it’s helpful to connect with your support system — friends, family members, professors, or even a mental health professional. Share your worries and stressors; any feelings of anxiety or uncertainty will be quickly met with compassion and understanding. Acknowledging what you’re experiencing can help remind yourself that these emotions are valid and can help you come up with ideas to manage them.
- Get Organized & Prioritize
Creating a customized study plan is an important step in managing finals stress. Break down your coursework into manageable chunks, lay out the timeline of tasks, and assign each one a priority level based on when it’s due or how much time it will take. Taking a few moments to list out what needs to be done and when can help you get the big picture and design an efficient approach.
- Take Time for You
Finals season is undoubtedly intense, but remember that taking care of yourself should always come first. Designate a time each day for activities like exercise, meditation, or simply going for a walk with friends. This will help to reduce stress related to schoolwork and give you the opportunity to relax and recharge.
- Make Sleep A Priority
Sleep deprivation can quickly lead to mental fatigue and reduced cognitive functioning, neither of which is helpful when studying. Be sure to prioritize getting enough sleep each night—your brain will thank you.
- Take Frequent Breaks
Studying for long stretches of time can leave us feeling overwhelmed, so taking frequent breaks is essential. Use this time to get up and move around, grab a snack or beverage, talk with friends, or do an activity like reading fiction that helps distract from the studying mindset. Your mental clarity and focus will thank you.
- Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated
The importance of eating well and staying hydrated can’t be overstated—especially during finals season! Eating healthy meals and snacks, as well as staying adequately hydrated throughout the day, can help to provide your body with the nutrients it needs for peak cognitive functioning.
- Exercise Regularly
Exercise is a great form of stress relief and can help to clear your mind after intense study sessions. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine during finals season—even if it’s just for 10 minutes—to help reduce stress levels and boost energy.
- Change Your Environment
Mixing up the environment in which you’re studying can help to keep your mind engaged. Take advantage of the various study spaces available on campus and find one that works for you—or go off-campus and enjoy a change in scenery.
- Identify Your Stressors & Remind Yourself That It’s Temporary
Spend some time reflecting on what is triggering your stress and remind yourself that this period of intense studying is only temporary. Take a few moments each day to write down the things you’re grateful for—this will encourage an attitude of mindfulness and help to refocus on what’s most important.
- Reward Yourself
As tempting as it may be to push through endless study sessions, don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done! Celebrate the small milestones and successes along the way, like finishing an assignment or studying for a certain amount of time. It’s important to recognize that your hard work is paying off and enjoy the journey!
Finals season doesn’t have to be so intimidating—it can be an opportunity to practice managing stress in a more mindful, intentional way. With these ten tips in mind, you can take control of your studies and finals experience to become better equipped for success—in school and beyond.