How to Survive Finals Week

School is already a stressful experience, even when only considering normal coursework and exams. When finals week rolls around, the stress seems to multiply so quickly it can be difficult to keep up and still feel healthy and refreshed. Take some of these helpful tips into consideration, and surviving finals week might be easier than you thought.

Feed Your Body, Not Just Your Mind

It’s easy to get caught up in studying and running between classes, and fall behind on your good eating habits. Remember to add healthy snacks and full meals to your study routines. A hearty spinach salad with a lean protein for lunch or dinner, and a healthy breakfast of protein, fruit, and whole grains can get you through the day with significantly less stress and more energy.

Boost your mood and keep going through stressful days with easy to pack healthy snacks, like almonds or sliced cucumbers and hummus. Stock prepared snacks or grab and go meals at home, so you don’t have to worry about going to the shop or stopping by a cafe during prime study hours. Impulse foods often are not the healthiest choices, and a simple sugar rush will not be enough to get you through a long testing period. Making sure to take care of your body and not fall into unhealthy eating habits can get you through finals week and beyond. Studying on an empty stomach will only lead to more fatigue, stress and lack of focus.

Create A Study Space

Studying in bed or on the couch is tempting – but dangerous. Studying in comfortable spaces can lead to distraction and interfere with your sleep and relaxation schedule later when you want to use the same spaces to escape finals stress. You might be pressed for space in your dorm room or apartment, but don’t let that stop you from creating a perfect study space! Start by cleaning off your desk, and adding a plant or relaxing scent to help you focus. Keep your planners, textbooks, to-do lists, and anything you need to help you stay on track within reach. Try to encourage a quiet space, with less traffic from friends or roommates.

Creating a calm space dedicated to studying will help you focus and stay organized, while keeping your relaxation spaces free from finals stress and errant notebooks. This is a great habit to keep, not only during crunch week, but for homework and school assignments throughout the year.

Get Some Sleep

With libraries open 24 hours, long tests and constant study groups it can be difficult to have a balanced split of study and rest during finals week. However, finding time to relax is just as vital as hitting the books.

Fatigued brains don’t retain and process information as well as rested, awake brains. That means your late night cram sessions and all-nighters could be doing more harm than good. Trade in your late night study sessions for a solid block of healthy sleep. Use your renewed energy to have more focused and productive study sessions.

If you are having a hard time relaxing enough to go to sleep after a stressful day, there are things you can do to help you sleep. You can try aromatherapy, meditation, yoga, or a warm cup of herbal tea. Remember to keep your relaxation spaces clear of textbooks and study stresses. If you are having chronic, serious issues sleeping, discuss sleep aids with your doctor.

Study Outside Your Comfort Zone

Flash cards might work for you, but they don’t work for everyone or every test. If you are feeling jaded by your regular study habits, try branching out and trying something new. Varying your study habits can be stimulating, especially when you have a lot of studying to do in a short period of time.

Try to break up your study schedule so your information is varied. You will focus better and retain more information in shorter blocks of time. If you have more than one final, try alternating subjects to keep your focus. If you have one final you are focusing on, try to vary your studying methods using different methods, like practice tests, flash cards, studying with friends, or reviewing notes.

Stay Focused, Not Scattered

You likely need your computer to study, but static from social media and internet activity on your computer and phone can be distracting. The Facebook and text notifications from your phone can interrupt your train of thought. Distracted studying takes twice the time and yields less information retention, because your brain is scattered and unfocused

Shutting out technology completely may not be feasible in this modern age, but try to stay focused on your tasks. You can shut off your phone or leave it in another room. You can set boundaries for social media or use it as a reward, perhaps awarding yourself 15 minutes of free internet time for every hour of studying. If you have trouble focusing or staying off of the internet, you can try to set alarms to keep yourself on track. There are also browser services and apps that can block certain sites for periods of time, making it more difficult for you to stray from your tasks.

Surviving finals week can seem impossible when you are in the middle of the frenzy of studying, tests, and sleepless nights. It is a stressful experience no matter how many years of schooling you endure. However, with these helpful tips and careful consideration of what is beneficial to your studying habits, you can have a successful and low-stress experience.

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