This is it! If you are like me and are currently enrolled in college/graduate school then the time has come. FINALS WEEK. It is fast approaching! Seriously, like, within the next two weeks depending on where you are enrolled. Stress, panic, projects, assignments, grades – it seems as though the world is crashing down around us, am I right? But it’s going to be ok! You know why? Because I’m going to tell you how to survive the end of the semester…or at least how to survive the stress that comes along with it.
- BREATHE! Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how often I find myself holding my breath because I’m stressing out about the end of the semester. And I don’t even realize I’m doing it until my heart is pounding and I’m getting increasingly agitated because I’m not getting the oxygen that I need. So, whenever you catch yourself holding your breath, take a moment to so some simple breathing exercises. I, personally, like to breathe in in 10 counts, hold for 5, and release in 10 counts. I’ll sit there and do that until my heart has stopped racing and I’m not agitated.
- TAKE A BREAK. I’m not talking about a procrastinating break so long that you waste precious time just lallygagging around. I mean take a break and organize your mind. I find that when I’m stressed, everything seems to all have maximum priority, and I stress myself out trying to either do everything at once or try to do everything as quickly as possible so that they are all done – both of which are not productive or very nice to my grades.I grab a pad of paper and a pen and write everything that I have to do down. It doesn’t matter what order. Just get it out of your head and down on to paper. Usually, my lists look like this:
-Class 1 Research paper
-Class 2 assignment
-Talk to professor about concerning topic
-Research for paper
-Study for finals
-Get presentation materials together for presentations
-Etc.Once you have your list, really think about what exactly you need to do first. Then second. And continue on until all of them are either rewritten in order (what I do) or numbered.Then assign the amount of time that you need to each assignment or task. If you only have one day to turn something in, move it to the top of your list so that you can prioritize it. This is handy, too, if you have multiple things due the same day. So, for example, maybe your paper will take 3 hours and your assignment only needs 30 minutes, but both are due tomorrow. Figure out which one you will turn in first and begin with that one. By assigning lengths of time that you need/have to do them, it helps the brain focus itself so that you can be super productive. Once you have taken a break to prioritize what you need to do, you can tackle your entire list without feeling stressed that you don’t have enough time to do it all. It may seem like a waste of time while you are in the thralls of panic, but making this list for myself has almost always saved me from breaking down into a sobbing ball of self-loathing, which only wastes the precious time that you have.
- SLEEP. You may be tempted to pull all-nighters to get your stuff done, but, if you were able to prioritize your list, you don’t need to. Only in strict cases of there-is-no-other-possible-way-on-the-face-of-the-earth-that-I-can-get-this-done-without-an-all-nighter do I give you permission to wreck yourself by not sleeping. The brain just can’t handle being sleep-deprived. You may think that the stuff you are writing at 3am is the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s really a poor example of what you can do. Not only can sleep deprivation be dangerous, but it also wrecks your complexion.Your skin regenerates and heals itself when you sleep, so when you prevent yourself from sleeping, your skin can become lackluster, flaky, clogged, and even show signs of dehydration and wrinkles. Granted, when you are stressed out of your mind, you could honestly care less about what you look like so long as your work gets done. I totally understand, but making this a habit will definitely affect how your skin looks in the future. That, and who wants to feel like over-caffeinated death when you are sitting in class giving a presentation or taking a test? No one.
- RELAX! Seriously. When you have accomplished between 35-50% of your list in your allotted time, take a bubble bath or steamy shower to loosen the tension from your muscles. Being hunched behind your desk all day trying to get things done can wreak some serious havoc on your upper back and neck muscles that can lead to back pain, headaches, general pain, and just a feeling of being unwell. Trust me. You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself.You can even light a relaxing candle (if your campus allows it!) or throw in some scented Epsom salts and make your time enjoyable and even more relaxing. Try some breathing exercises in the tub or breathe in deeply to allow the steam to clear your chest. Once you are relaxed, your body becomes re-energized, and you can tackle the rest of the list.
- EAT WELL. As in don’t binge on the quick, pre-packaged snacks that are so totally NOT good for you. It may feel like just eating granola bars and fruit snacks is the best way you can eat quickly while working, but all of that excess sugar is only making you more tired and irritable. If you feel like you just don’t have the time to eat a proper meal, at least munch on a bowl of blueberries (they enhance brain function) or apple slices (apples wake the mind up quicker than caffeine and lasts much longer without a crash).And I’m seriously begging you to refrain from buying those terrible energy drinks. Staying awake to do school work is not a proper excuse for shocking your heart and nervous system with chemicals. Please don’t do it. If you NEED a caffeine fix, make a cup of tea or coffee. And remember: with coffee, the lighter the roast is, the more caffeine, and with tea, the darker the leaf, the more caffeine. Pair a cuppa with a bowl of apples and you will stay awake no problem!
- STAY HYDRATED! The more hydrated you are, the more energy your body has before you feel the effects of fatigue. Sip on some water (or tea) as you work. You will thank me. As a person who is almost always dehydrated, I can vouch for the ability of hydration increasing my functionality when stressed.
I hope that these suggestions help give you an idea on how to survive the end of the semester. I follow all 6 of these every single time, and I honestly think that this is the only reason I’ve been able to turn in booty-kicking final assignments and papers when I feel that I just can’t continue on doing this school and higher education thing.
Have a suggestion that I don’t have here? Leave it down below so we can all benefit!
Thanks for reading!