Surviving Finals Week: Top 5 Stress Management Tips

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Erin Eppig, Promotions Manager

As the semester begins to wrap up, most of us are probably feeling overwhelmed by our final projects and exams. I’ve pulled to together some ideas to help manage stress so you can avoid finals week burnout.

 

Top 5 Finals Week Tips 

1. Go for a walk

Exercise is one of the most well-known stress relievers, studies show that physical activity reduces stress and improves mood. When it comes to stress reduction, however, more intense exercise doesn’t necessarily translate to more benefits. Research shows that a 10-minute walk can be just as effective as 45 minutes of rigorous exercise in reducing stress. So, grab your walking shoes and go for a quick jaunt around the block if you need a break from your last minute exam review.

 

2. Get into nature

Studies show that spending time outside and getting into nature are healthy ways to manage stress. In fact, it’s been shown that as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can improve psychological and physiological markers of mental well-being in college aged students. If you can’t make it outside, simply looking at photos of nature could provide some calming benefits as well.

 

3. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

Sometimes we have other responsibilities and obligations that make getting enough sleep unrealistic, especially during finals. It turns out, taking a quick 20 minute power nap might be just the solution according to research. Just be sure not to sleep any longer so you don’t risk waking up groggy as opposed to refreshed.

4. Take a few deep breaths 

For the most immediate results, take a moment and take a few deep breaths. Slow deep breaths trigger a relaxation response, combating some of the physical sensations of stress within the body. The heart rate begins to slow, muscles relax, and blood pressure drops. There are many deep breathing techniques, but one of the most popular ones is the :7 :7 :7 technique where you breath in for seven seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and breath out for seven seconds.

5. Cut out distractions

While screen time is an essential part of the virtual world we live in, it can take some intentionality to be sure we are placing all of our focus on our studies. Consider doing your work in a quiet environment and avoiding multitasking you might find your productivity increases. Studies also show that social media can increase feelings of stress, so taking a break might be useful during finals week. If you find yourself absent mindedly getting on social media on your phone, consider signing out of all your accounts, you might find manually logging in is more trouble than it’s worth.

These are just a few stress management ideas, but sometimes our stress goes beyond what we can manage. HACC offers many mental health services to students, including three free counseling sessions per semester.

To find the mental health resources offered by HACC, click here

For more stress management ideas, check out healthline and student.