If you haven’t had time to check the calendar lately, it’s November, which means you’re almost to the finish line of this semester! But, to get to that finish line you probably have four final papers and five finals, all due the same week. Sound about right? If your planner is about to explode, caffeinated drinks are the only liquids you ingest and sleep is something you only have time for on the weekends, it’s time to take a deep breath and get a hold of your stress.
By now, you’ve heard a million times that stressing to the point of jeopardizing your health will NOT benefit you academically (and most of the time you ignore it). According to Pellissippi State Community College’s Counseling Office, stress causes shortness of breath, increased sweating and stomach aches. Rather than dealing with extra sweating and the urge to vomit, read the tnAchieves tips below on reducing your end-of-the-semester stress.
- Get actual sleep
I don’t mean naps in your car when you have breaks between classes. I mean an actual eight hours of sleep, at night in your bed, with visions of A’s dancing in your head. Skimping out on the necessary amount of sleep not only affects your judgement and mood, but sleep deprivation impacts your memory too. So next time you have the urge to pull an all-nighter cramming for a big exam, just close your books early enough to get a decent night’s sleep while your brain does the work for you.
- Pet a furry animal
Dogs aren’t man’s best friend just because they’re adorable and loyal, they’re also instant mood-boosters. Whether you personally have a pet or not, finding a furry friend to share some love with when you begin to feel overwhelmed will help alleviate your pent-up stress. Harvard’s Medical School actually keeps a therapy dog in their library for students to play with when they can’t take the sight of their notes and assignments any longer.
- Ditch your comfort food
Is your go-to stress food the secret carton of ice cream you have stashed away in your freezer? Or, maybe your all-night cram sessions include pizza and hot wings. Whatever your favorite comfort food is, try swapping it out for a healthier option this month. Ensuring your body receives the proper nutrients will help provide you with the natural energy and immune system boost you’ll need to get to the shining light of Holiday Break.
- Squeeze in some exercise
While most people would suggest that you make time to exercise when you’re stressed, sometimes that advice just stresses us out more. When there’s barely time to make deadlines, work, sleep and have a social life, when are students supposed to fit in a workout routine? If you do have time to hit the gym then you should, but if not, make sure you’re moving as much as possible during your daily routine. Park in the furthest lot and walk a bit, take the stairs instead of the elevator and lift your 30 pound backpack with some enthusiasm!
- Hug a friend
We’ve all seen someone, somewhere wearing a t-shirt that has “Free Hugs” written in Sharpie on the front. As funny as this seems, those free huggers might be on the right track when it comes to stress. When you feel like you’re about to crack this month, find a friend or family member to talk to and then end the conversation with a hug. Relying on your loved ones when stress becomes too much to handle will let you release your frustrations enough to get your head back in the game.
And remember, there’s only one month left of school! You WILL get through this and be a stronger student next semester because of your efforts now. If your stress gets to the point you feel like you can’t handle it alone though, please visit your school’s guidance office to speak with a counselor as soon as possible.