The most important thing to remember during finals isn’t an equation or the function of the mitochondria – it’s how to take care of yourself.
Here’s my go-to seven steps to taking care of myself during finals week:
I know spending an hour at the gym isn’t high on everyone’s list of priorities during exam week, but it should be. Working out increases the endorphins in your brain that help lower stress. Try going for a short run or doing yoga, both have been shown to de-stress quickly and effectively!
2. Eat Healthy (but without depriving yourself)
I talked about this in a previous post, but let me reiterate why this is key to having a successful exam week: eating crap makes you feel like crap. Keep in mind that if you’ve been thinking about ice cream for the past three hours chances are you really want that ice cream, so treat yourself. You’ve worked really hard and you deserve it.
3. Plan Ahead
Take a moment to think about your college football team. If your college doesn’t have sports for some reason, think back to high school. Do you think they ever went into a game without a game plan? Nope. Not a one. While planning ahead for a game isn’t the same as planning ahead for exams, it’s still vital to how everything is going to play out. Schedule in study time, make room for friends and downtime, and don’t forget to sleep somewhere in there! If you know how much time you have before you go in all gung-ho to study, you’ll be more efficient and have more “you” time in the end.
4. Socialize (and NOT on social media!!!)
Humans are social creatures. We thrive off attention. So don’t hole up in a library and expect Facebook to become your new BFF while you study. You’ll only end up more distracted. Try studying with friends, or, if that doesn’t work for you, study alone and go hang with friends during your study breaks. It’ll feel great to talk with someone face to face, and you can blow off steam ranting about the math exam you don’t want to take.
5. Drink Water
Can I put thirty exclamation points beside this? Please? This is so important. Please do not forget to drink water. Being dehydrated will give you migraines, stomach cramps, and make you feel like you have no energy or will to study.
6. How to Get Rid of Headaches ASAP
Speaking of headaches, I am the migraine queen (it’s not fun, trust me). If you’re in dire need of getting rid of a headache or migraine fast there are a few things you can do: drink a glass of water, take either Tylenol or Advil (I’ve found those work best, but Alieve and aspirin work too), drink something with caffeine like sweet tea, soda, or coffee, and take a short twenty to thirty minute nap. If that doesn’t help, try this yoga sequence.
Eight hours of sleep in the recommended daily for a young adult, but in times of struggle such as these students can get by on five hours a night for about a week before your body freaks out. I’d highly recommend naps. And wouldn’t suggest pulling more than one or two all nighters in one week. Your body needs sleep, especially right before an exam. So the night before one of your big tests make sure to get eight hours of sleep. It’ll help your brain process information and calm your body down.
Best of luck!