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How to deal with stress during finals

exercise mct

(MCT)

There’s nothing quite as stressful as the end of the year crunch between Thanksgiving and Winter break. But while you are cramming for endless tests and downing large coffees while furiously writing your seven essays all due tomorrow, keep in mind that everyone needs a break! Studies have shown that people who take short breaks during study sessions or work have a better time remembering information, and perform better on tests and important projects. I’m not suggesting you forgo studying to watch a Law and Order SVU marathon, or scroll endlessly through the internet until your eyes go bloodshot, but putting down the books for a little while and taking your mind off of work will undoubtedly help you retain all that information you need to know. Some ideas for quick mind clearing activities include…

Go outside

Take a short walk around campus and get some fresh air! Or better yet, walk into town and check out the holiday decorations. While you’re there, you can stock up on more coffee at Starbucks!

Exercise

Hit the gym or go for a run. Getting in a short workout will not only give you endorphins to make you feel happy and less stressed, but it will give you the energy boost to finish that 10 page paper.

Call a friend

Misery loves company, and talking to a friend or family member for a few minutes will cheer you up. They may even be able to help you with the mounds of work you have to do!

Play a game

Playing a mindless game like Angry Birds, or even a simple word search, will help clear your head and refocus you so that when you go back to your homework, you’re less likely to start thinking about what you want to eat for dinner and stay focused on the task at hand. Other simple activities like painting your nails or folding laundry, are proven to calm down a restless mind also.

Eat a real meal

All that studying often forces us to head to the vending machine, but junk food and soda only make it harder to focus. Take a break and go have a real meal with lots of protein-rich foods that will give you energy and make you feel more awake and focused! Blueberries have been shown to increase memory, so stock up for all those dates you need to memorize!

Take a deep breath

While you may feel silly doing it, taking a few minutes to just breathe in and out is a proven relaxation method used by everyone from anxiety sufferers, to yoga fanatics. So don’t forget to breathe while you incessantly recite vocab words to yourself in the library!

Stretch

It’s a known fact that being hunched over a computer takes a toll on your body, but a stretch break can also help out your mind by giving you a boost in energy and temporary relief from the strain of reading. Don’t forget to give your eyes a break to by looking out a window for a few seconds or off into the distance, eyes get sore too you know

There are plenty more ways to de-stress during the final stretch of the semester, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to remember that it won’t last forever, and there are plenty of resources on campus to help if you feel overwhelmed! In the famous words of the British, keep calm and carry on!

Maggie Cornelius can be reached at mcorneli@student.umass.edu.

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