Tips on Managing Your Mental Health During Finals Week
Categories: Blog, For Students, For College Students
Finals week got you down? Yeah, you and me both. As a senior in college approaching my last semester, it’s safe to say that I am over exam days, especially finals. I haven’t always had it all figured out and still struggle to keep the momentum going. As students, our mental health gets tested during these times. Here are some tips I’ve learned on my journey through navigating the stress of finals week.
Tip #1: Create a schedule.
If there’s one thing college students have mastered, it’s cramming. We’ve all been there. Though we find ourselves able to pull it off a decent amount of times, at what cost? It’s not fun staying up, often with no sleep, wondering if there’s enough time to speed through an entire week’s worth of material into a few hours before an exam. At the end of it all, the stress on your mental health could have been easily avoided if you had a schedule. A schedule can provide a structure that will help you be realistic with how much time you have to study and help remind you to make time for tasks and breaks.
Creating a schedule (and following through with it) can prevent you from getting overwhelmed, which will decrease your stress during finals and put your mental health at ease. Build a good ol’ classic schedule by simply writing it out on paper or using new technology like Notion, Trello, ClickUp, and even Google Suite. These programs help you create and organize a schedule for free online.
Tip #2: Find your healthy study techniques.
We all retain information differently when it comes to studying. It’s especially apparent when you look around college campus’ study areas and classrooms. Whether you’re the type to do well with bright highlighter markers, written notes, turn memorizations into music, use mnemonic devices, or study materials in intervals at a time, find out what works best for you!
Tip #3: Be nice to yourself and keep things in perspective.
As serious as finals can be, approach it like it’s any other exam. It just so happens to be the last one you have to take. Fear can be one of the strongest emotions to affect your mental health. Though a final can’t physically hurt you like a fire or stepping on a lego, a non-dangerous event such as public speaking and taking an exam can trigger a natural response to fear because of the feeling of threat. That feeling of fear and anxiety can last for a while and then pass, but there’s also that possibility it sticks with you for longer. Some may develop something called “test anxiety.”
Test anxiety can impair and hurt your test performance. This shows how fear alone can completely throw you off. According to verywell, test anxiety may even impact your ability to sleep, concentrate, and eat. Being nice to yourself and keeping things in perspective may seem easier said than done, but starting with the idea of breaking an unhealthy cycle by identifying pain points of what triggers fear and anxiousness can help you learn to cope and overcome your challenges.
Yes, you are a student, but your identity is more than that. You are a person outside of classes, exams, finals, and all things school-related. Students are under so much pressure to keep up their performance during exams, but it’s important to learn to take a step back. Remember – years from now, this will seem like a small moment in your life.
Tip #4: Take care of yourself.
Life is meant to be lived, and as important as finals are, they shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. Your physical and mental health comes first. It’s small things like packing nourishing meals when you go out to study for hours. In other words, don’t replace your meals with ramen, coffee, and energy drinks.
Make time for the things you enjoy by setting boundaries. Some people find that having a self-care routine works wonders. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to allocate tons of hours for leisure time, but enough to prevent burnout. Doing things you enjoy like working out, spending time with your loved ones, watching a favorite show, or even napping can help you balance the fear and pressure of finals. Remember, life goes on around you despite having final exams! Live it.