How to Get Finals Stress Relief
Sometimes stress from preparing for final exams can feel all-consuming.
But it’s important to recognize how to incorporate stress relief into your study routine. Here’s why.
The Effects of Stress
- Stress and anxiety build as you prepare for an important exam. This can activate the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of our brain that controls our flight, fight or freeze response and keeps the body in a constant state of over arousal and heightened sensitivity to a degree that creates a feeling of anxiety and fatigue.
- Deprivation of free time, non-work/non-study time leads to depleted perseverance and, said simply, “will make you dumber.”
Stress Relievers to Try
- A general rule is that for every 30 minutes of studying, take a 5-minute break. Or every 50 minutes, take a 10-minute break. Find the time that works best for you.
- Alternate stress-reducing activities during study breaks. Every few breaks you may need to walk, do a few jumping jacks — something physical (but not strenuous) to increase alertness but not to the point of exhaustion.
- Use your alternative breaks to add in something creative. You can paint, draw, or use clay or Play-Doh to create something. Take a tip from the adult coloring book trend and start coloring!
- Is a simple activity that emulates easier times of your life where you had less responsibility
- Allows you to take your focus away from school stress for a few minutes
- Combines the simplicity of the task with a recuperative effect
- Uses the areas of the brain that enhance focus and concentration and improves problem solving and organizational skills. Our frontal lobes are responsible for these higher-level activities and functions of the brain. Coloring detailed pictures activates and solidifies those properties.
Things to Avoid While Studying
It can be disadvantageous to try an all-night cram session.
Sleep positively impacts test-taking by increasing memory and concentration. If you must stay up, take a 15- to 30-minute nap. Set your alarm, and when you wake up from the nap, engage in a study break activity before returning to the task of studying.
Stay away from social media, TV, internet, etc. There is a place for those forms of escape and relaxation, but during study sessions it is easier to waste too much time, and they do not advantageously activate the parts of the brain that benefit from optimal cognitive functioning.