December 22, 2021
Here are some tips that can help balance being productive and managing stress in healthy and effective ways.
- Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of your basic needs is essential to function as your optimal self. Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to navigate this busy and stressful time. Putting energy into getting enough sleep, eating healthy, nutritious foods, staying up on hygiene routines, making time for social connections, and finding ways to relax will actually keep your energy charged up to power through what you need to.
- Unplug from Social Media
Using social media can make it more difficult to focus on tasks and drains time. The “quick check” of Facebook or Instagram can turn into significantly more time spent than intended. Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost track of time swiping through Tik Toks. It happens, even with the best intentions of not getting sucked into it. It is best to take a break from social media while you need to focus on finals prep, or at the very least restrict your use to a set time once a day.
- Make a To-do List
It can be helpful to put down on paper the tasks floating around in your head. Once you can see what needs to be accomplished, it is easier plan, prioritize and make efficient use of time. This can also help make your to-dos feel more manageable. Plus it feels good to cross things off that list once you’ve completed them!
- Create a Schedule
Often times, our perception of time, or lack thereof, can increase our stress and make the to-do list feel impossible to complete. Managing time efficiently can help you make the most of the time you have. Write out a schedule and include all of your basic needs too (eating, sleeping, showering, taking a break). Rewards or incentives after completing tasks worked into your schedule can also be a useful motivator.
- Make Sleep a Priority
Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is vital for our brain’s ability to retain and recall information and function most efficiently. Lack of sleep impairs your memory, mood and ability to process information. It may seem like a good idea to skip out on sleep to give yourself more time to study, but this will likely lead to increased stress.
- Limit Caffeine Intake
This may seem like counterintuitive advice, but caffeine can contribute to problems with sleep and may increase anxiety, neither of which are ideal to be dealing with during finals time. If you are going to consume caffeine, try to avoid it in the afternoon and/or evening hours and balance your intake with equal amounts of water.
Relaxation doesn’t have to include scented candles and massages. It might, but there are many possibilities to what relaxation may entail for you. Listening to peaceful music, breathing exercises, letting out your artistic side, playing basketball with a friend, working on a puzzle, going for a walk, trying a relaxation app (such as Calm, Headspace, Breathe2Relax)… Explore what may work for you! A simple breathing exercise can provide some great relaxation, plus it’s fast and free! Try box breathing: breathe in for 4 counts, hold 4 counts, exhale 4 counts, hold 4 counts. Repeat this process 3 or more times for added benefit.