Everyone feels stressed at different times in their life. Sometimes you may feel like your personal life is tough, other times it could be your job or school. With finals quickly approaching, it’s important to get a handle on stress so that you can focus and study. Here are some tips:
- Be Prepared – As finals approach, it is key to consistently set aside time to review your notes, make sure you learned from your mistakes on past tests or papers, and study. Talk to your professors to be sure that you understand the material. If you are more prepared for the test, your anxiety may decrease. This can also be used in the workforce. If you have a large presentation or interview, it’s important to stay prepared and organized. Supplemental Instruction and the Help Center can help you.
- Get Active! – When your body is familiar to physical stress that occurs with exercise (lifting weights, running, etc.), it will be more prepared for the mental stress. Stay active throughout the semester, but if you have not started already, there’s no better time than now. Start walking, swimming in the indoor pool, going to classes offered by the gym, playing basketball or another sport with your friends. Incorporating exercise in everything you do can also help when you’re in a time-crunch. Squat while brushing your teeth, walk a little faster than you normally do to your next class, stand up and do 10 jumping jacks after studying for 30 minutes, or break up your 30-minute walk into short 5-10-minute bursts throughout the day. The Rec Center will help you conquer this area.
- Eat a healthy diet – I know it’s hard to eat healthy when you’re on the go or after a huge cram session, but your body needs vitamins and minerals to thrive. Giving it the proper nutrition, with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains is imperative to keep your body in tip-top shape. Don’t forget to drink water and stay hydrated. That is part of proper nutrition as well. If you know a stressful time is approaching, prepare food in advance. Make small meals and put them in the freezer so when you need a snack or don’t have time to cook, you can heat up something nutritious. Panther Dining has many options available for you as well.
- Visualize/Meditate – When studying, take a second to close your eyes. Visualize the test, how it feels to sit in the class, what the test looks like. Think about how it feels, smells, sounds, etc. Visualize yourself knowing all the answers, getting A+, and feeling great about it. Open your eyes with renewed optimism and continue to study. You can download an app for guided meditation or visualization. Many apps provide guided meditation for a variety of circumstances, such as sleep, anxiety, becoming motivated, or dealing with stress. The Counseling Center has many services to assist with meditation and mindfulness.
- Do what makes you feel good! – It’s important to take a second and do something that makes you feel good. Go to dinner with friends (pick a healthy option based on tip #3), listen to music, sing and dance around your house, paint, color, draw, spend time with your loved ones, call a trusted friend, take your dog for a walk, pet your cat, and make sure you get enough sleep. If you are still looking for a group to join on campus, PIN can help you get connected.
- Breathe – When all else fails, just breathe. Even if your stressful situation is right in front of you, give yourself a second to breathe. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Often you may need to repeat this. If you have more time, inhale for 10 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. You can also download a deep breathing app for tips on different breathing exercises.
In times of stress, it’s okay to be upset, to cry, and to be angry. Emotions are okay to feel. It is the behaviors that we make as a result of the stressful situations that can really make the difference. If you practice these 6 tips, you will be better prepared for stressful situations and respond in a positive and healthy way. If you need additional assistance, do not hesitate to stop by the Dean of Students Office or peruse our Student Assistance site.