Five Tips for Relieving Stress during Final Exams

The Colonial Health Center and the Division of Student Affairs share easy methods to alleviate stress during exam week.

April 26, 2018

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By Briahnna Brown

Final exam season can be a stressful time for George Washington University students.

The university will host several events to help, such as the 38th annual Chalk-In to celebrate art in an open space at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday (Wednesday rain date) at Kogan Plaza and H Street NW. There also will be free grab-and-go breakfast breaks at Kogan Plaza (Gelman Library rain location) from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. May 7 and May 8, and there will be Buff and Blue Study Breaks with free snacks and study tips from 7 p.m. to  10 p.m. at Eckles Library on May 7 and Gelman Library on May 8.

Common reactions to stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include nightmares and a lack of sleep, difficulty breathing, an increased heartrate, stomach issues such as a loss of appetite. There are also emotional reactions to stress such as feelings of sadness and frustration, anger, tension and irritability.

The Colonial Health Center and the Division of Student Affairs offer these five tips to help relieve stress during final exams:

  1. Practice healthy habits: Get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night, even though it takes time away from studying. It helps in processing information and remembering what you’ve learned. Use your sleep space exclusively for sleeping so avoid studying, eating and watching TV in bed to train your body to equate your bed with sleep. Additionally, eat nutrient-rich foods and well-balanced meals to maximize your energy, and make time for exercise to help your brain produce the endorphins necessary to feel good and be successful.
  2. Manage your time: Planning ahead is crucial for time management. This includes planning time to work on assignments and time to study. Take some time now to plot your daily schedule so you’re not pulling an all-nighter or rushing to meet deadlines. Also, even though it can be difficult to detach from our phones and social media, it’s important to stay away from these distractions. To keep yourself from wasting valuable time, put your phone away and try computer apps like SelfControl that block access to distracting sites for a set period of time.
  3. Utilize your resources: Use the resources the university offers. Set up some study groups, go to your professors’ office hours and talk to people about parts of assignments or exams that are confusing to you. The more you talk about your concerns, the easier it will be to empower yourself and rise above the exam stress.
  4. Meditate: Take a moment away from the books and papers and get clarity and perspective through meditation. Self-help and mindfulness apps, like Calm or Headspace, can provide guided meditation techniques and help students focus on the task at hand.
  5. Laugh: Break from your studies and spend time with your friends. Engage in activities you enjoy, whether it’s listening to your favorite podcast, watching an episode of a TV show you love or sharing that hilarious meme on social media. Take the opportunity to find some happiness during exam season.