With the semester coming to an end and the pressure of finals week approaching, December can be a stressful month for college students. With some helpful tips, finals week doesn’t have to be so frustrating.
One of my favorite ways to relieve stress is exercising because it benefits both your physical and mental health. I typically follow a workout video or go on a long walk and listen to music. Focusing on a physical activity will distract you from dreading upcoming exams, and I always feel much better about myself after I work out. I’m not saying you have to complete an intense workout or go on a 5-mile run, but get your heart rate up enough to feel your adrenaline pumping.
Waking up and immediately worrying about the studying that lies ahead of you is the worst feeling. Instead of stressing the moment your eyes open in the morning, start your day by prioritizing an hour of physical activity. All the stress consuming your thoughts can be forgotten. If you start your day off by taking care of your physical and mental health, it will motivate you to study better.
Maintain a healthy diet
Even though it’s cheesy to say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it really is true. Start your day off strong with some fruit and protein, enjoy a sandwich or wrap for lunch and eat some pasta or chicken with a salad for dinner. Those might not be the best options for everyone, but they are for me.
Eggs are one of the best sources of high-quality protein and there are so many different, easy ways to cook them. You could even try out a new style of eggs each morning of the week. Get some fiber in your meal by making a yogurt bowl with fruit and granola. I like to add bananas, strawberries or raspberries.
If you enjoy studying during the day, you will probably want to eat a quick lunch. Wraps and sandwiches are a staple lunch meal, and they're as easy to make as they are to eat. My go-to sandwich is sourdough bread with Swiss cheese, turkey, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers topped with honey mustard. You can even make this sandwich in the morning and bring it to your favorite campus study spot.
I prefer to make a simple but filling meal for dinner because by dinner time, you’re exhausted and starving. I always keep a couple boxes of Barilla pasta and tomato basil sauce handy for when I have little energy to cook dinner. Pasta is simple and always delicious. If you’re not feeling pasta, you can always keep some frozen chicken and a bag of mixed greens handy to make a salad.
Prioritize a good sleep schedule
A week full of exams can cause you to overthink your grades late at night, especially before you go to bed. We’ve all laid in bed struggling to fall asleep because there is too much going on in our heads. Unfortunately, I deal with this often which is why I try to find a book that will keep me invested enough to distract me from my own thoughts.
A book is better than watching TikTok or a movie because it gives your eyes a break from screens. According to Health, nighttime screentime negatively impacts sleep, making it harder to fall asleep on time. To ensure you will get a healthy and uninterrupted sleep, try out a new book or listen to a podcast for at least one hour before bed.
An average college student should get about seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Even if you go to bed at 11:30 p.m., you can still wake up early and get eight to nine hours of sleep. Waking up early is a great way to get motivated for the day, which is why I like to wake up around 8:30-9:30 a.m. when I have a busy schedule.
Take study breaks
You don’t want to overwork your brain when prepping for finals week, which is why it’s important to take breaks. The break can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as two hours; everyone works at their own pace.
Make sure your break isn’t consumed with texting your friends or scrolling through Instagram because you’ve already spent hours looking at your screen and your eyes will need a break. Get some fresh air and grab a snack or go on a short walk. You could even call your parents if you’re feeling homesick. Breaks are a great way to maintain a healthy study schedule, and they might even land you an A in the class.