December 08, 2015

By Kayla Prince-Stehley

Students are currently feeling the pressure as we enter into the dreaded finals season. The strain of trying to complete final projects and papers while simultaneously studying for tests can worsen or trigger symptoms. In order to have a healthy finals season, here are some tips to help you manage and reduce stress:

Make a study schedule

Creating a schedule will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed. It can also help you manage your time efficiently as you can better plan for what needs to happen and when. This way you don’t procrastinate!

Alternatively, try color-coding your schedule by class, so that you know what needs to get done for each class. Just remember to take one thing at a time by breaking tasks down into steps and crossing them off when you complete them. Crossing things off your list will give you a sense of satisfaction and encourage you to continue knocking items off your list.

Stay connected with your friends

Friends are a great support system. Did you know that laughter can actually reduce stress? It’s tempting to just stay in the library alone, but try studying together or grabbing a quick lunch with a friend. Talk to them about how you’re feeling; you may find they are having a similar experience and have their own tips to share.

If you’re worried about a friend, say something to them and offer support. He or she doesn’t need to go it alone.

Get enough sleep

It may feel like you don’t have any time to sleep, but getting enough sleep is a critical part of being productive and staying healthy. Sleep deprivation worsens stress and triggers symptoms of mental health conditions.

Not everyone is the same, but most young adults require approximately 7-9 hours a night. It is easier to wake up in the morning if you are sleeping for full sleep cycles, which are an hour and a half each.

Sleep helps memories form, so you’ll need it to remember all of the information you’re studying and to have the energy to keep working.

(Try to) Relax

If you’ve been following your schedule and trying your best not to procrastinate, take some time for yourself. Do something that makes you feel happy and peaceful. Listen to music or take a quick walk to break up your busy day. Getting outside has been show in research to reduce stress.

Have you studied for an hour (without distracting yourself every few minutes!)? Reward yourself with a short break away from your workspace.


Exercise can help reduce stress and improve memory and sleep. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy and aim for 20 minutes a day. Invite a friend to join you! Having a workout buddy will motivate you to go and make it more fun. Don’t feel like leaving your room? Turn on your favorite music and dance!  

Eat well

Junk food can lower your energy and make you feel worse. Eat fruits, vegetables, plenty of protein and whole grains to strengthen your immune system and stay energized.  

Take a piece of free fruit from the dining hall and put it in your bag on your way out. It will be an easy, healthy snack for when you’re studying later.

And Remember what comes after finals: Vacation!

Finals are tough and overwhelming, but just keep in mind that you’re almost done. You can do it!

If you are finding it difficult to manage stress, talk to someone. Work with your mental health professional to find the best coping techniques for you.  

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