Finals Week: Lots of tears, little sleep, Adderall and mass amounts of coffee. Let's be honest, sleep isn't even an option at this point, due to playing catch up after being zoned out the past 12 weeks of the semester. #oops.
You're not sure whether heart attack or completely losing your mind will come first. Believe it or not, there are ways to find your center during finals week--and keep the peace in body, mind, and spirit.
Don't forget to exercise. One of the best things you can be doing is keeping up with your gym routine. During times of high stress, we tend to want to set the physical activity aside, but that is the complete opposite of what we should be doing. Most of the battle is simply getting yourself to the gym. If making it to the gym is impossible, at least set aside time to go on a long walk, ride your bike to the library, or do some jumping jacks on your study break.
Eat. The combination of the focus-enhancing drugs and coffee buzz causes us to forget to eat and drink throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to get your water intake in for the day. When you're packing your textbooks up for the day, also pack some snacks. Apples are especially great for energy. Nothing will bring you down like waiting until the sun goes down to have your first meal consist of cheese sticks and Red Bull.
Take a break. Don't spend your day overworking yourself. It's okay to set aside the flashcards every few hours. Your eyes have more than likely been glued to either a computer or textbook all day, so make sure your breaks are electronic-free. Put away the iPhone, iPad, and TV. Instead, do some deep breathing exercises, meditation, or stretching.
Take your time. When you wake up in the morning, set your alarm early enough to allow for a calm morning and set the tone for the rest of the day. Start by telling yourself a few things you're thankful for to get into a positive mindset. Drink a glass of water and follow it up with a healthy breakfast to boost your energy for the day. Lastly, take your time to get ready! Look good, feel good. Feel good, test great.
Get your sleep. You may think sleep is for the weak, but you'll need it during finals week. By getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you will allow your body to restore itself, and that will reflect in your testing. If you aren't taking the time to get in enough sleep, you won't be retaining information as well, so you aren't gaining anything by staying awake. If you are too wound up at the end of the day, try using some natural remedies to help fall asleep. I prefer decaffeinated Sleepytime tea, or supplements such as melatonin or magnesium potassium.
Your mental health is worth far more than any test grade. You may or may not remember this exam a year, month, or even a week from now. You have all the time in the world to graduate, make connections, and find your place in the world. If you take time to do what's best to relieve stress, you'll maintain both your GPA and sanity.