10 Tips To Help You Get Through Finals Week Stress-Free

Double-Energy Drinks And Candy Aren't Going To Get You Through Exams, We Promise
 Double-Energy Drinks And Candy Aren't Going To Get You Through Exams, We Promise

It’s finals week — and the countdown to the last couple of days of the school year. How are you managing stress? If you’re like most students, probably not very well. We’re talking ultra-caffeinated energy drinks, Sour Patch kids and all of their other sugary-sour friends, subsisting on little sleep, avoiding exercise, and not taking any “me” time. While those seem like the tactics to get every minute of studying in that your brain can allow, they’re not as productive as you think.

Here’s your guide to managing stress during finals week.


  1. Establish priorities. Time management skills are by far the most important yet most difficult to cultivate. But along with simply managing your time, you need to be able to understand what time means to you. Often, we overestimate what we think we can get done in an hour, and underestimate what we think we can do in a week. For one day, keep a log of how long you spend reading a chapter, taking notes, re-reading notes, quizzing yourself, or doing whatever study tactics you usually do. And then do the math. Extrapolate how long it will take you at your pace to cover everything you want. If you discover you have way less time than you think you’ll need, you’ll have to set priorities. Determine what you absolutely need to know or where you’re struggling, and shift your focus there.

  2. Exercise. Not just because it’ll keep you fit AF, but because exercising does way more for your mental health and overall well-being than you think. Get 30 minutes every day just to clear your head and keep your sanity.

  3. Include self-care in your schedule. It’s critical that you pencil in not just “me time,” but productive, actually beneficial time taking care of yourself. Scrolling Instagram and bingeing on Netflix don’t count — those are simply ways to check out and numb out. You need to replenish your self-love bank account by putting more meaningful deposits in there. Do something creative (what did you love to do as kid?), head outdoors, get a haircut, or simply take care of your hygiene. Whatever makes you feel good. Even better, think meditation, massage, yoga, and all of the practices you may write off as too “spiritual” (that western medicine has finally started prescribing for everything).

  4. Create a mealplan. Most of us have a tendency to eat our way through stress. That’s fine if you’re into carrots and celery, but just saying, it’s usually the salty, sweet and fried stuff that beckons when you’re searching for something to help you procrastinate. If you live on-campus and have a mealplan, decide what each meal will look like for the week and what you'll do for snacks. Or if you live off-campus, design a meal plan for the week that includes plenty of balanced meals and healthy snacks, go grocery shopping and make sure you only get the ingredients you'll need, and even consider creating an “emergency snack kit” when things get dire. Avoid late-night fast-food — ask your roommate to be an accountability partner and keep you from dialing in an order for delivery.

  5. Limit social media. Trust us, you don’t even know how much time you’re actually spending every day just mindlessly scrolling. Allott only a couple small pockets of time through the day where you’re allowed to check in, and stick to it.

  6. Set bedtimes. This one may be hard, because you’re probably already doing it. Saying you’ll be in bed by 10pm is easier said than done in the morning when you have a full day to handle everything you need to. Discipline yourself to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and set an alarm for nighttime. By 8pm, start wrapping up your studying — and if you’ve followed our first suggestion of establishing priorities, you should feel good about where you end each day. We don’t need to tell you any more how important sleep is, and how negatively it can impact your ability to handle stress, be productive, and function properly.

  7. Maintain social support. Now is not the time to ignore your friends. Your social network is integral in boosting your mood, relaxing you, and making you feel supported. You need them now, so try to catch up with a friend once a day, even if it’s just a couple of texts.

  8. Get your attitude right. To some degree, you’re only as stressed out as you let yourself be. Remind yourself to let things go, to take deep breaths, and to relax. If you worry yourself into a panic attack, you’re only making the situation more difficult because worry solves nothing. Focus on positive thinking, and consider repeating a mantra like “let it go" to yourself. Or tell yourself “you’ve got this” so many times that you start to believe it.

  9. Journal. Try writing just a page a day, as it allows you to get the thoughts out of your head where they take up crucial mental space, and throw them away onto a page.
  10. ​Practice setting limits. Now’s the time to start saying “no” to things. If you know yourself to be a people pleaser, and you’re a social animal, it can be hard to say no to going out Thursday night. But setting boundaries and getting comfortable with saying no is a huge part of becoming an adult and maintaining your mental well-being. Saying no puts you in control of your time, and prevents the stress that will come from cramming if you say yes.



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