Stress

How to Stay Sane During Finals

Finals week is coming faster than we could say “OMG, I need to get on top of things.” Even the most seasoned finals veteran struggles with managing time and energy while trying to get things done as effectively as possible. Unfortunately, finals are difficult and very stressful. There really isn’t an easy way out. However, there are some great tactics for relieving stress and staying sane during finals week. After almost 8 finals weeks, here’s what I’ve learned:

stay sane during finals

Be Healthy

It’s so easy to neglect our health while we’re cramming for exams and putting together assignments. Unfortunately, if our health is bad, it’s likely our performance is also going to be bad. Make sure to eat healthy meals with foods high in vitamins and minerals and low in processed ingredients. Not only will it keep your body running smoothly, but it’ll also help you feel more awake and focused. Some foods thought to boost energy include beans, citrus, and leafy greens. Additionally, make sure to fit in some cardio a few days each week. Exercise helps to increase endorphins, making you feel more positive and focused. On top of everything, hydration is key. Drinking adequate amounts of water not only helps the body function, but it also helps to regulate attention and energy.

stay sane during finals

Have Fun

College students often have the tendency to feel if they are doing something enjoyable, then they’re doing something wrong. This mindset is not only detrimental to mental health, but it can also negatively affect your work. Overworking yourself causes fatigue and lack of concentration, which can actually lead to lower grades. Therefore, one of the most important ways to stay sane during finals is to have fun. This doesn’t mean a wild night out with the pals, but taking an hour to get dinner with friends or to see a show can make a huge difference!

stay sane during finals

Change up the Space

Another great way to stay sane during finals is to make sure that you’re not in the same space for too long. Even if you have the best seat at the library, staying in the same spot for too long can make things even more boring than they already are. By changing up your environment ever so often, you’re also shifting the way your mind absorbs information because of changes in light, posture, etc.

stay sane during finals

Meditate

Mindful meditation is an excellent way to help deal with stress, increase attention, and boost cognition. If you’re beginning to feel stressed out, take some time alone to sit, or even walk, and relax your mind. Concentrate on your situation and sort out everything you need to do. Identify why you need to do it, and then how you’re going to do it. Remind yourself although finals are challenging, you’re capable of performing at your best and that studying will ultimately be rewarding. Finals aren’t fun, but attending college is a privilege.

stay sane during finals

Stay Organized

If you’re anything like me, you find it extremely difficult to stay organized. During stressful times, my lack of organization causes me even more stress in addition to what I’m already enduring. Before finals begin, it’s a great idea to get your life together. If you’re inclined to use your computer, start a spreadsheet with all of the assignments you need to finish and all of the exams you need to study for. Make columns for dates,  study intensity, and goals. If you prefer being able to physically write things down, use a planner. Winging finals is always a bad idea.

Finals are going to be stressful. However, it’s always important to put your mental and physical health first. Keep a good head on your shoulders. Take care of yourself. Make efforts to stay organized and confident, then the rest will come along smoothly. Good luck getting ready for finals, everyone!

Why December Shouldn’t Be Stressful

December student

It’s that time of year again where things begin to get hectic. If you’re a college student, December means assignments and finals are creeping up on us and exhaustion is setting in. The end of the semester is officially coming to a close. As we begin to feel stressed out and anxious, we also tend to forget about the amazing things that surround us. If you’re going through a tough time, and I’m sure many of us are, then please hear me out.

Take Time to Breathe

First off, I’d like to point out that stress, like anything, is only okay in moderation. Secondly, stress isn’t something to be proud of. Staying up all night, piling on extra assignments last minute and working until misery isn’t acceptable. We live in a world where overworking ourselves is praiseworthy. The more work, the better. Right? Wrong. It’s appreciable that you’re working hard, but it’s important to know that our society’s definition of hard work isn’t actually normal. As a student, you shouldn’t feel inadequate if you’re not pushing yourself over the edge.

Luckily, these busy and haphazardly spent days rushing between class, the library and back home for food and sleep intersect with the most wonderful time of year: the holidays! As you continue to prepare for the end of the semester (remember, don’t push yourself too hard), make sure to take in some of the joy and cheer that will be accumulating on every corner. Although it’s already December and most of the leaves have changed and perhaps fallen, the beauty of the transition from fall to winter doesn’t cease to be amazing.

Explore the Outdoors

Take some time this year to go outside and not just a five minute walk to a new building. Regardless of the cold, sweaters and gloves were invented for a reason. You should go outdoors! Research suggests that spending extra hours in the outdoors can lead to health benefits. For example, the sun is a great source of vitamin D. but remember sunscreen! Additionally, nature and the outdoors is thought to lead to an elevated mood and decreased stress levels. If your school is in nowhere land, take this opportunity to find the area with the post picturesque sunset; if you’re studying in a city, explore the city parks! Make sure to take photos. Oftentimes cold weather leads to the loveliest photos. 

Make Time for Family and Friends

You should take time to appreciate family and friends in December. With having just did this at Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays coming shortly after, we can become even more stressed. However, the holidays aren’t meant to be stressful. Sure, cooking, cleaning, and having to embarrassingly describe to your relatives that you ‘just don’t quite know yet’ what you’re doing with your live isn’t quite fun, but the moments around that deserve to be cherished. So go ahead and plan a Friendsgiving, wear your matching pajamas with your siblings and escape your older relatives with your cousins. It’s worth it!

Enjoy Being a Student

Lastly, these last few years of college are really the only moments left before we’re catapulted into the real world. Embrace your youth as you experience these times while still being a student. Don’t let classes and assignments get in the way of feeling that holiday cheer that comes every year at this time. Drink lots of hot chocolate, take in the crisp fall air and over wear your favorite sweater. Regardless of how stressful we’re feeling, I can guarantee that these tough times will feel way better.

I hope that these suggestions help you have a successful and enjoyable December and end of fall semester. Have any other tips that have helped you? Leave them in the comment section below!

How to Manage Stress in College

Ah college, where everyone feels like there one assignment away from cardiac arrest. Although stress in some ways is unavoidable, especially in school, there are quite a few ways in which we could manage it. Through maintaining a healthy(ish) lifestyle and taking care of your mind and body, high levels of stress could effectively be reduced or even avoided. As someone who gets stressed out very easily, I’ve learned a few methods that have really helped me out through my college career.

Stress

1. Don’t Take on Too Much

This might seem almost obvious, but you’d be surprised. Many students, especially freshmen, take it upon themselves to be a part of everything. I’ve noticed students with a full schedule attempting to be a part of so many clubs. Not even Hermione Granger could keep up with them. My advice? Start out slow and see how much you can handle. Most clubs and organizations accept new members throughout the semester. You don’t have to join everything at once!

Stress

2. Pracice Proper Hygiene

The importance of hygiene is something we might ignore when we’re too focused on other things, like school. However, a long shower can really make a difference. It’s agreed upon by many that bad personal hygiene could lead to lower levels of confidence. In my experience, making sure I feel clean and put together causes me to feel more positive altogether. You don’t have to look like royalty every day, but good self-care makes a pretty big difference, especially in how we deal with stress.

stress

3. Pace Yourself

Procrastination is arguably one of the biggest culprits of college students’ stress. By waiting until the last minute to study or start an assignment, we do ourselves and incredible disservice. Plenty of research shows how problematic procrastination is.  The best way to get through them is to sort through assignments and finish your work in a timely fashion. Never do them all at once. Getting an early start gives you enough time to figure out if you’re having trouble with certain concepts. Managing your work in an organized and well paced fashion makes life way easier.

Stress

4. Meditate

You don’t need to join an expensive yoga class in order to reap the benefits of meditation. Studies show how how effective mindful meditation can be in regards to reducing stress and anxiety. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, find somewhere quiet and comfortable to relax. Focus on your breathing and try to sort through all of your pressing thoughts. Mindful meditation allows you to become at ease with all of the pressures and stressors in your life in a very simple and harmless way.

Stress

5. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is something often overlooked when stressed. Many people tend to cope with stress by eating. Studies suggest that sugar helps to decrease levels of stress. However, anyone can infer that binging on candy and soda isn’t going to make you feel that great. In this case, opt for fresh fruit or berries. When in season, I personally prefer blueberries, which are high in antioxidants and keep you going.

Stress

6. Make Sleep a Priority

College students are notorious for pulling all nighters without actually realizing how problematic they are. Getting a good amount at sleep at night is very important for brain functioning and overall health. By sleeping, you’re allowing your body to recover and prepare for the next day. Don’t pull an all-nighter, like, ever. It’s better to call it a night and set an early alarm (to finish work) than it is to force yourself to stay up. The more sleep, the better.

Managing stress in college is not an easy task! I hope these suggestions help you like they’ve helped me. Have any tips to add? Drop us a comment below!

Keep Your Cool in School

For many of us, the first day of fall semester classes has arrived. That means moving in, buying textbooks and mentally preparing yourself for the new school year. That also means there will be stress and mental clutter coming as well. Instead of freaking out and frying your brain, try these simple tips to keep your cool and make the stress burden lighter on your shoulders:

college planner

Keep a planner. This is both a time-management tool and a stress reliever. List your schedule in the hour section and set aside time to do classwork (remember: however many credit hours a course is, that is how many hours you should spend studying and doing homework for that class per week). You can use Google Calendar (if you have a Gmail account), or if you’re looking for something to carry with you, check out these adorable planners!

Clean, clean, clean. Did I say clean? A clean room is a happy room. Some students find it stressful to work in a cluttered dorm room or apartment, and often times become mentally disorganized as a result. Clean up some so you can study Plato’s “The Republic” instead of staring at the pile of clothes on top of your desk.

Set aside time to play. Jack Nicholson once said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Infamous, but it holds true for many students. Focusing too much on upcoming assignments or the next big exam will add more weight to the stress burden. Instead of being a worry wart, schedule time to take a walk or socialize with your friends, maybe even join a college club. You will be glad you did.

Did these tips help? Got any others? Share your mental organization and stress relieving tips in the comments section below!

It Is Time to Stop Stressing Out

In college, sometimes things get tough. I’m going to shed some light on how you can help yourself get through these “tough” times and not get too stressed out.

Scenario number one: I need a job! Money is tight for most all college students. If you have time to work but are worried you won’t be able to find a job in your new town, don’t be! I moved from Iowa to Omaha and I wanted a job more than anything. You have to be proactive. I went around to various stores and introduced myself to many managers.  I filled out numerous applications and sure enough, quickly got multiple interviews. The key is to look for a job right at the beginning of the school year. Most part time jobs have seasonal workers who maybe live in your college town but go to school elsewhere. When these employees to away to school, they need people to fill their shoes fast during the school year, it’s perfect! Be confident and go get em!

Scenario number two: Homework overload! College is interesting because although you will suddenly have an abundance of free time, you will also find yourself with insane amounts of homework. If you put two and two together, do your homework in your free time! I know it doesn’t sound like the most fun to use your free time for your studies, but it will benefit you. If you use time between classes or at lunch to study, you can use your evenings to relax. I’ve found myself mastering the art of getting everything done early in the day or afternoon; it’s so nice to be able to relax when dinner time rolls around.

Scenario number three: I got dumped! I know the initial thing to do after being dumped is going to one extreme or the other. Either you don’t eat or you eat the whole pantry. Either you don’t sleep or you sleep your life away. Either you don’t work out or you never stop. Point is, neither extreme is healthy. College brings change that sometimes high school relationships or summer flings can’t handle. If you find yourself suddenly riding solo, embrace it! Think of all the new fish in the college sea. I know at first it will seem as though no one can compare to the one you were with, truth is; only time will tell. If you are supposed to be with that person, eventually it will happen if not, it might as well end sooner than later.  Have fun, remain confident, and don’t always think you NEED to be in a relationship to be happy.

Scenario number four: I’ve gained weight! Everyone has heard of the so called, “freshman 15.” It’s true that college can initially lead to weight gain. This is due to eating at later times in the night, eating more fast food, and not working out as much. Alcohol is also one of the main causes of weight gain in college students.  To fix your sudden weight gain, start with eating right. Pick meals that include each food group, and attempt to snack less. Along with eating the right foods, try and eat all your food before 9 at night. The later you eat, the more food sticks on your body once you sleep. Eating breakfast is one of the main contributors to a healthy diet. Breakfast gets your metabolism going sooner, and leads to less hunger overall throughout the day. If you must go to a fast food restaurant to eat, try and pick a subway or order off the lower calorie menu. The best advice is to just avoid fast food. Other things to avoid include pop and alcohol. These beverages are loaded with a ridiculous amount of calories. If you feel a good workout is in order, just do it! Now that the weather is getting nice, try going for a run or a bike ride. Getting active is a step in the right direction.

I hope if any of my scenarios related to you, my advice will also. Have an awesome last few weeks of school!

-Speedy G.