It’s that time of year where students flood the library and late-night caffeine is a necessity: Finals are here! It can get super stressful during finals week, so here are some tips to help you stay sane. I’ve tried all of these and they definitely work, so if you find yourself feeling a bit panicky or stressed, take a moment and try one of these suggestions. Hopefully it’ll help you power through the week!
- Have fun with friends. Friends always make life better, so when life gets tough, phone a friend! I spent a lot of time with my friends this past week doing a whole variety of activities. Last Saturday I went to a winter dance with my Intervaristy gals, and it was so nice to pamper myself, get fancied up, and dance off all the stress! Earlier this week I decorated Christmas cookies with some friends, went to a football game (it was so cold!!), and tonight I’m having a sleepover before finals week begins. The one rule about hanging out with friends is you’re not allowed to feel guilty! It’s a time to destress, and unless your final is in an hour, time chilling with friends is time well spent.
- Have a day to yourself. This past Friday I woke up and decided it was a “me” day. Not only did I sleep in, but after classes I checked out a movie from the library, grabbed a hot cheese pizza from the dining facility, spent the afternoon watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and danced around to Christmas music while working on Christmas gifts for friends. It was so great!! With lots of schoolwork to finish and other responsibilities to do, we have to organize and prioritize our life, but make sure your first priority is yourself. Yes, that paper is important, but your sanity and well-being are so much more important than a grade. Take care of yourself, and life will work itself out on its own.
- Space everything out. Everyone knows that saving work until the last moment isn’t the greatest idea, but we also all know that procrastination still happens. So with one week left, I encourage you to try your hardest to get things done on time! Spacing out the work spaces out the stress, and that way you’ll avoid the overwhelming, cry-your-heart-out breakdown at 2am. I’m lucky to only have one in-class final (the rest are on my own time to turn in online), so I’ve dedicated one day for each final I need to complete. Sunday is Psychology, Monday is French, Tuesday is East Asian Studies, and Wednesday is International Relations. Hopefully by organizing my time I’ll be able to finish everything on time and without much stress!
- Meditation/Exercise. With lots of academic work to finish, taking time to exercise or meditate is often pushed aside, if not completely forgotten. But for those who enjoy an active lifestyle, exercising during finals week is so helpful for your mental health in addition to your physical health. My gym has this poster of 50 reasons to exercise hanging on a wall, and if those reasons aren’t good enough, there are so many other benefits to working out you can look up on your own. I hope to work out every day, but probably not at the same intensity as usual. When I don’t have time to hit the gym (or it’s just too cold to go outside), I practice meditation and breathing practices. Usually this involves me finding a comfy position and taking a few minutes to deepen and lengthen my breathing. This is super easy in comparison to exercise, but it’s just as effective in taking away stress and strengthening the mind and soul. Whether exercising in the gym or breathing at home, make sure you take care of your body and brain this week.
- Find a space. We all know the feeling of sitting at a desk, twirling our pencil and staring at the computer screen, getting absolutely nothing done. It’s so hard to study and be motivated when you’re uncomfortable, distracted, or just in a miserable place. Therefore, make the effort to find a place with good vibes that promotes productivity and positivity. If the library is the best place for you, find a place among the books and get to work. If it’s your dorm, get busy in the comfort of home. If it’s a little tea shop downtown, surround yourself with the wonderful aromas and start studying! Not only will the right setting give you good vibes, but it can refresh your brain after sitting in the same spot after hours and days of studying.
- Everything will pass. As a student, I know we often get caught up in school, and we function in the mindset that grades are everything and the next assignment due or the next test to take will have huge impacts on our lives. They won’t. Everything will eventually pass, and when you’re in the future looking back, you’ll realize it wasn’t that big of a deal. I am positive if you ask an older person if they remember the stress of their finals, they might say “eh I guess it was stressful”, but I can assure you it’s had little to no impact on their lives. These tests, assignments, papers, and stressors are only pebbles on the long walk of life. You will survive, you will thrive, and life will continue past this week.
I hope some of these tips stuck out and will help you find success during finals week! I know I’ll be using quite a few of them in the days to come. What are your tips for staying sane during finals?