As Finals Week looms overhead, the craze is unavoidable. For many students, finals week is a rite-de-passage. Coffee becomes their savior and the library becomes their new hangout place. As much as students’ eccentricities during finals (and the ensuing finals’ memes) are amusing, the aftermath that finals have on students’ mental health is not. Students go berserk studying in the few last weeks before finals and their mental health goes haywire.
Guys! Granted, your grades are important, but so is your mental and physical health. So, here are some tricks on how to face the finals strong, and keep your mental well-being on track.
1.Get something to EAT with Your Coffee
People watching you consuming gallons of coffee would preach relentlessly about harmful caffeine, but you would turn a deaf ear towards them because ‘Coffee is not just a beverage, it’s a magical potion of sanity!’
Yes! Coffee does work its magic by boosting moods, improving concentration, and jiggling up memory, but when taken in moderation. Too much of it (400 ml or more) can also wreak havoc on your sanity and gut.
You can always pair your coffee with a healthy snack, not junk food. Eat fruits, vegetables, plenty of protein, and whole grains to strengthen your immune system and stay energized. Eating something solid and real could keep you afloat in the river of despair.
2.All-nighters are a strict no-no
Are you one of those guys who when asked by their moms, “Are you getting sufficient sleep?”, responds, “Yeah, I closed my eyes when I sneezed”. If this is you, then Oh Boy!! Are you not in big trouble!! Especially if you are in an environment that religiously views lack of sleep as a sign of diligence.
Sleep is necessary for your mental and physical health. A lack of sleep intensifies stress and your health can go downhill. However, you can’t fit in a full eight hours in bed every night during finals. But don’t sweat it. Getting six hours of sleep or an hour or two of napping would do the trick. It will not only have you wake up feeling refreshed but also every minute you spend studying, you will be able to absorb everything for your finals. Sleep deprivation radically affects cognition. Imagine staying up all night, cramming for your finals, only to forget everything in the morning. What a waste!
3.Flex some muscles too along with brain
When you feel yourself drowning in the studies, haul yourself up and do some jumping jacks, arm raises, stretching, simply walking around, or do some breathing exercises. Vitalize your body, stimulate your mind. Working out causes your brain to produce and release endorphins, which are also known as the “happy hormones.” Tonic for brain cells.
Exercising is, “meditation in motion.” Our mind tends to forget stressing out when engaged in physical activity as it is busy focusing on controlling our body movements and relieves built-up tension. Or you can also consider dancing to your favorite music if you don’t feel like getting out.
4.What sucks more. Stress or Bragging Stress?
Come finals week, and people are like “Oh, I was up all night studying, slept only 2 hours last night” and “I seem to be functioning on coffee these days”. Are you not glorifying stress? Not taking care of yourself doesn’t make you a better student. It only shows that you might have procrastinated and let things pile up. But rather than depleting your energy by beating yourself up over it, you can focus on finishing the remaining tasks.
Think about it this way. Take stress as a challenge, rather than taking it as a threat. Stress is normal, it shows that you are invested and want to do well. Think positive and do not ignore your feelings, accept them and try to use them to your advantage because measured and positive stress can be helpful. It’s called Eustress. It primes the brain to perform well.
Negative stress comes when you view upcoming events as a threat and believe yourself to be unable, or without sufficient resources, to cope with it.
So fellas, don’t freak out about freaking out.
5.Keep Calm and Make Some Lists
Thinking about that gigantic to-do list, unfinished assignments, yet-to-study topics, and incomplete tasks can quickly make your mental health go downhill. Instead, breaking down your massive workload to small clusters consisting of more specific and realistic goals will make you more motivated to get working.
Create a schedule and prioritize assignments or exams that are more important for your goals or enrollment. Complete the most important task first, devoting full attention to the task at hand. Switching unnecessarily between tasks will require your brain to reorient, and thus wasting time. Be consistent and focused.
Scheduling your work alleviates anxiety because it helps to prioritize and gives a sense of structure amidst chaos. It also provides a track record of what is done and what remains.
Leave out a buffer time between tasks. Set some time for doing what you enjoy. It acts as a breather for the brain. Also, your brain gets satisfied when you cross out tasks off the list. It motivates you to keep going!
Remember folks…. Being organized is like being in control. Theory of Fun
You’re not a robot yet. So, behave like humans!
You don’t need to go on working and not have some fun until all your assignments are done, and the semester is finally over. You don’t need to live in fear of losing the momentum of study. You can give yourself time to recharge. Watch favorite shows or a new movie, listen to music, dodge some balls in the field, or join a fitness class. Silly things like a favorite bench outside, a walk in the park, or grabbing a favorite snack with friends will work wonders.
Socializing is the next best thing for your mental health. Laughing and talking with friends can positively reduce stress. Even the fastest racing cars need pit stops to prevent burnout. Take time with your pit crew to replenish the fuel for your mind, body, and soul.
Success is not worth without sound mental health.
While socializing is a must, keep away from social media during Finals week. The temptation of watching videos, posts, games, and text messages deters you from studies and thus, making you unproductive. Beware of the phone.
Remember, confidence is the key.
You are going to ace your exam. Giving positive affirmation to yourself is pivotal. And stop attaching your self-worth to grades and scores. They are not a reflection of what you truly are. Try to do well and be well. Work towards getting good results but not on the cost of mental health. The stress of exams is inevitable, but it is temporary. Do not be afraid to reach out if you can’t handle the stress. Your family, friends, and professors are there to help you succeed. Each student is fighting a different battle and there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will make finals week a breeze. But at the end of all this: there’s a Vacation!!