Finals can be stressful.
Stress can take a hard toll on your body, making studying difficult, and the vicious cycle continues.
This semester, refuse to give in to stress with these 10 ways to stay calm and collected during exam week.
1. Take breaks.
One thing many people try to do–with the best intentions–is power through all of their subjects in a row. Just like how your car takes a second to switch between gears, your brain also needs time to adjust to different material. 5-10 minutes of walking, listening to music or grabbing a snack will actually help your brain stay more alert by concentrating on one subject at a time.
2. Sweat it.
I once knew a girl whose father made her study for her SATs after running 5 miles, and then made her run the same distance before taking the actual exam after she had earned a low score on a previous attempt. What happened? Her score almost doubled.
3. Make a plan.
Grab yourself a desktop calendar from Walmart and write out your study schedule. Write in the actual exam and term paper due dates, then on the days leading up to each exam, write exactly what material needs to be studied. Bonus points if you use different colors for each subject.
4. Clean your desk.
Close your eyes and watch the clutter disappear. Better yet, actually organize your desk and feel the cobwebs in your brain leave with the ones from your desk. Decluttering your study area will let you truly focus on what matters without the dust bunnies distracting you.
5. Find some fur.
Countless studies have proven that petting dogs or cats relieves stress. Heck, if you’re feeling adventurous, combine a few stress relieving techniques and take a study break by going for a run with your dog.
We do it so instinctually that we sometimes forget we even need to do it, but closing your eyes and concentrating on your deep breaths are not just one of Leonard’s anger management tactics from The Big Bang Theory. Mindful breathing has been shown to slow heart rates and thus reduce stress.
7. Get off Facebook.
How often have you logged in to Facebook only intending to find out a friend’s birthday, but when you look at the time and 3 hours have passed? If you truly can’t muster the self control to unplug from social media while studying, use the Firefox plugin Leech Block to do it for you.
8. Get outside.
Not only is fresh air invigorating, but getting enough Vitamin D is essential to be fully healthy–especially during finals week. 10-30 minutes outside each day is enough for your body to soak in the nutrients it needs. Extra credit if you get some exercise in the great outdoors.
9. Eat smart.
It has been drilled into us from birth the importance of starting the day right with a nutritious breakfast, but it doesn’t stop at our first meal of the day. If “you are what you eat,” would you be a sluggish jelly donut or an energized bowl of oatmeal? If you need some help making smart choices, Live Better America has you covered.
Getting adequate sleep is always vital for optimum performance, so don’t put it off one second longer. Try unwinding before bed: it can be a few gentle stretches or yoga, reading a book for pleasure, taking a soothing bath, or enjoying a warm cup of non-caffeinated tea. You’ll be counting those sheep in no time.
Sure, finals can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. If you plan ahead and stay healthy, there is no reason you can’t feel completely prepared for each exam and feel confident when the time comes to bubble in your answers.