How are you managing your stress?

How are you managing your stress?

by Alyssa Craven, Staff Writer

One of the most stressful times of the year for students starts next week with finals. Without successful stress management, students can feel overworked and drained.

One of the most important self-care tips for students to do during finals make sure that they are getting enough sleep. It can be easy with finals to stay up late studying for a big test, but pulling an all-nighter can seriously hurt the students’ test scores.

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “You may stay awake longer than usual to cram in as much studying, rehearsing, and reading as you can. But the truth is, if you don’t have enough sleep, your brain can’t absorb and retain information. Plus, sleep deprivation decreases your ability to concentrate during the exam itself. Of course, not getting enough sleep affects your body’s ability to fight illness.”

“Don’t do it just to say you pulled an all-nighter,” said Claire Tillotson, a junior majoring in neuroscience.

Lexi Hammer, a junior majoring in physical education, agrees with Tillotson.

“Most of the time you’re just more tired during the test and will fall asleep,” Hammer said.

On the other hand, taking short naps during finals can also help students to stay rested.

“I fall asleep,” Hammer said. “I take a lot of naps during finals. I study for two hours, then I’ll take a 40-minute nap.”

Taking a short break from studying can also help with stress.

According to the American Psychological Association, “It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby or a growing credit card bill. But when you give yourself permission to step away from it, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed.”

Tillotson said students should take breaks and do activities not related to homework.

“I think movies and TV induce stress and are probably not the best thing to do,” Tillotson said. “I always think I should be doing something else. I like to color, do art, or listen to music. Mindless activities stress me out more.”

While it is good to take these breaks, students need to make sure they are not avoiding preparing for their finals and get back to their studying.

Another helpful activity for homework breaks is exercising.

The research keeps growing —exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body,” according to the American Psychological Association. “We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine. But even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.”

Exercising can help release stored-up stress and help give the body a way to feel better.

The most important advice for students to remember during finals is that it’s only for a week. Once students get through this week, they can relax and enjoy winter break.