By Ayesha Shozib, December 19 2022—
As university students, finals season is the most stressful time of the semester and it can be easy to fall into a cycle of late-night studying, cramming, and lots of worrying over succeeding. However, despite the importance of our grades and exams, it is vital to balance out the week with activities and practices that are meant to keep us on the calmer side.
Food for thought
With all that revision, we become prone to headaches and migraines. One way to help is to take breaks to eat foods that are meant to strengthen our most important asset — the brain. Although coffee is a popular exam season go-to, it can make us extremely jittery and make us more prone to nerves. Great alternatives include blueberries, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate (for those of you with an avid sweet tooth). These have additional nutrients that encourage blood circulation to the brain, dark chocolate even helps to elevate our happiness levels.
Getting enough sleep
This may seem impossible to do but having a regular sleep schedule is essential to keeping your mind fresh and ensuring you retain the information you study. It does not take much to actually put this step into practice. Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day or, if that does not work, avoid using your phone for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. It has been proven that screen time before bed decreases your chances of having a good night’s rest.
Whether it is your room, the nearest library, or a certain spot on campus, where you study makes all the difference. I suggest you choose a space that is calm, quiet, and not too stimulating. Go in with a plan, have a certain list of tasks you want to accomplish on a particular day, find the right space to complete them, get your favourite winter-time drink (even if it is coffee) and you will be able to see a difference in the way you work and retain your material. If you choose to stay in your room, try to make sure it is clean and organized before you begin. Besides, cleaning is often seen as a therapeutic activity before getting started on work.
Taking a few minutes in the morning to just breathe is often all you need to ensure a level head before you start studying or essay writing. The best part is that this can be done indoors which is especially important because of the winter weather we have been seeing lately. Some students may prefer the gym, which is also a great way to relieve stress, but for those who may not have access to one, meditating is the perfect activity for you. It gets your blood pumping and breathing exercises are essential to reduce anxiety as well.
Plan, plan, plan
It is extremely easy for us to get mixed up with our submission deadlines and exam dates as the semester draws to a close. This causes more stress than we usually experience as it can get very overwhelming. A good way to reduce that stress is by organizing ourselves. This could look different for everyone; a physical planner, a whiteboard or even just the notes app on your phone. If it helps you keep track of what you need to do then that will do the trick. Look over all your course outlines and jot down the deadlines and how you think you would be able to tackle them best.
Good luck everyone!