Five techniques for handling stress during finals

With finals week coming up, here is some advice on how to battle stress and stay sane.

Emily Creighton, Features Editor

Finals week — the bittersweet end of a semester that requires double fisting coffee while pushing away daydreams of summer.

While the end result — saying goodbye to never-ending piles of work (at least for a little while) — is captivating, getting there is no easy task. Between pulling a semester’s worth of notes together, scrambling to the Student Union for free scantrons and skimping on sleep to finish answering study guides (if you’re lucky to be given one), finals week can be one rocky road.

In fact, a study conducted by the American College Health Association – National College Health Assessment in 2013 showed that 57 percent of female students, and 40 percent of male students surveyed had experienced “overwhelming anxiety” within the year. According to an article posted on Psychology Today, this may be a lead to an increase in eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and depression.

But with the help of “Finals Success Week” and Karen Whiteman, Ph.D.  — a Health Promotion Specialist from Owls Care Health Promotion with a background in social welfare and mental health services —  the stress of finals week can be taken down a couple of notches.

Here are five tips and tricks to keep you from pulling your hair out and making the grade on every exam:

  1. Accept your stress:
  • You need to be able to address everything you have on your plate in order to manage it, and optimize your performance.
  • Take an inventory of everything that needs to get done before you try to tackle it all.
  1. Try Biofeedback:
  • This technique uses a computer software that measures your heart rate.
  • Identify your stressors and what stress feels like.
  • Use activities like deep breathing and going to your ‘happy place’ to lower your heart rate.
  1. Use aromatherapy:
  • Certain scents help trigger impulses in the body, calming you down.
  • Lavender and jasmine are popular, soothing scents.
  • Keep a bottle of the essential oil by your desk and smell it during times of stress.
  1. Try deep breathing:
  • Memory loss and stress are directly correlated.
  • Avoid the dreaded moment of sitting in front of your test and forgetting everything you’ve studied by taking a moment to really breathe.
  • Use YouTube videos as a source for learning how to properly breathe.
  1. Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
  • By tensing your muscles for a few seconds and letting go, you can relieve stress and relax.
  • A stress ball only triggers certain muscles. Try using this same idea but with your  hands, eyelids, elbows and more.
  • Again, YouTube videos are a good resource for learning how to complete Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

All of the services mentioned above are available at Owls Care. For more information, Florida Atlantic’s Davie campus is hosting a “Self Care Fair” in room SD105 on Thursday, April 9 at 11:30 a.m. Events for “Finals Success Week” will also be held on April 22.

If you need ideas on where to study, check out our article featuring six private areas, perfect for studying on the Boca Raton campus.

Finals Success Schedule

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.19.22 AM