The f in finals can stand for a lot of things, but “fun,” is definitely not one of them. As someone who has already had her first mini-mental-breakdown (and it’s not even study days yet!), I thought I’d give you guys (and remind myself of) some tips to maintain sanity during this not-so-joyous time of year.
- On the task at hand. This means that when you’re taking a break, stop thinking about work and fully enjoy your break. When you’re studying, commit to your work and save yourself the mental anguish of going back and forth lamenting about how much you have to get done- it only makes it worse.
Inhale. (And exhale.)
- Breathing is one of the most fundamental things that we can do to calm ourselves down. If you’re feeling overly stressed, take a minute and do some deep breathing exercises. Oxygenate your brain, make it happy, help it function.
- Music. Location. Position you’re sitting in. Font you’re typing in. Color pen you’re using. Lights you have on. People around you. Change it up. When you get too comfortable, you get bored and are more likely to zone out. Especially when you’re working for long periods of time, make a conscious effort to work in chunks and switch up some of your surroundings to help keep you alert.
- Try to snack healthy, because food is brain fuel, and you want your brain to be as on-point as possible during your exams. Acai, blueberries, salmon, eggs, avocado, mixed nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate, flax seeds, coffee, broccoli and spinach are all great options.
- If you feel like you’re working tirelessly and not making any progress, or that all the things you have to do will never end, make yourself lists of everything you have to do and check off items as you go. Everyone’s got their to-do list, but if you include on it things like “brush teeth” and “wake up” you’ll feel more accomplished, and thus more positive about tackling the big stuff.
- I know, I know- sometimes it’s not an option, but whenever possible, DO IT. Naps are your friend, even in the middle of the night. I consider the days before finals to be stretches of hours between due-dates, to be divided up however is most productive for me, regardless of what the sun is doing. If it’s two am or eleven am or three in the afternoon- if you need a break, take it. Your brain needs sleep to study and giving yourself as much as possible will only help you in the long run. (That being said, you know your body- if naps aren’t your thing, try your best to arrange for larger chunks of time to sleep, even if it’s in the middle of the afternoon).
Good luck and happy end-of-the-semester!