Finals time is stressful, there’s no way around it. And when you pile all-nighters and junk food/coffee binges on top of all that stress it can wreak havoc on your body pretty fast (not unlike any other stressful time of the year, right?).
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes you may not have taken notes (or even paid attention) in that class since midterms, and yes the temptation to subsist solely on coffee mixed with Red Bull is high, but there is a better way.
Stress management comes down to organizing your time, taking care of yourself, and keeping your perspective.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and you need to sleep for at least 6-8 of them in order to actually remember what you’re studying (it’s science!) so that means you need to divide up your time accordingly. I’ve found that actually studying (not facebooking, pinning or email checking) for 1-1.5 hours at a time and them taking a motor break (where you do something physically active of your choice) helps me to sit for longer periods of time and actually accomplish something. Pretty music usually helps too 🙂
The most important thing is remembering to take care of yourself, you need your brain at its best right now which means it needs fuel (besides coffee).
Take the time to eat a good breakfast…
Make up a quick smoothie for a snack…
Or pack up some veggies to take with you…
The key thing about all of these choices is that they are REAL foods. They have nutrients in them to give your brain fuel, and none of these take any longer to put together than buying/opening the packaged alternative. Trust me I know how busy this time can be, but now is not to give your body the extra strain of dealing with processed junk (it has better things to worry about…like categorizing types of Aphasia!).
In between your motor breaks and healthy snacks, don’t forget about actually studying. That means you need whatever highlighters/markers/pens your little OCD heart desires (maybe that’s just me?) And a comfortable space to spread out in.
You want to get comfy too, you’re going to be here a while. I’ve been living in my new class sweatshirt all week (and you don’t want to know about the state of my hair!). I’m also a big fan of sitting pretzel style so I make sure to wear clean socks and slip off shoes if I’m studying someplace semi-public like the clinic. Whatever works for you, you don’t want to give yourself any excuses to get off track.
At the end of the day you can’t avoid the stress of finals week (or maybe you can, if so what’s the secret?!!) But you can make sure that you don’t stress the rest of your body past exhaustion at the same time. Take care pf yourself, and remember this too shall pass!
In the meantime I’ll be locked in the library all weekend, feel free to comment if you have some more advice to share 🙂