Finals are a stressful time whether you are a freshman or a well-seasoned senior. With late (sometimes sleepless) nights, our bodies are simply exhausted and this is inevitably reflected in our test scores. Finals are inescapably hard on the mind, but they do not need to be stressful. Here are some ideas to keep your body well rested and your noggin sharp.
Make a schedule
Make a schedule and stick to it. Include breaks for rest, lunch, and exercise. Just like any other day of the semester, keeping a schedule can keep you in check. Don’t forget to start your morning with natural products to help you focus, like these They are a great way to help with distractions and get your day started on the right foot. Keep a calendar with all of your test dates on you so you know when and where you need to be each day as well as what subjects to prioritize.
Get your blood pumping
Remember to take breaks to hit the gym, go on a run around campus, or catch up with friends on a walk. Yes, temperatures are dropping in some parts of the country, but that fresh air can clear your mind and wake you up a bit! Exercising encourages your endorphins to kick into high gear, which means when you get back to the library and hit the books for round five — or fifty, you are ready to concentrate. Even getting up and doing a few yoga poses can help you to focus for the next hour. Consider holding tree pose for a minute and breathing deeply.
Tap into your sense of smell
Essential oils are incredibly useful and can assist with focus, relaxation, energy, as well as overall health. Lavender is an essential oil known for having a calming effect on those using it; by placing a drop of it on the collar of your pajamas or on your sheets at bedtime, you can more easily fall asleep. Try out our Sleep Essential Oils Towelettes with lavender and patchouli before bed.
Remember to eat well (and drink lots of water)!
Food is our body’s fuel. By eating lots of protein, and nutrient filled fruits and veggies, your energy levels will be where you need them to be for studying in the wee hours of the night. Also, try to remember that sugar can cause major crashes and that is the last thing that you want while revving up for a three hour exam. So, instead of reaching for that energy drink, reach for a glass of tea or a glass of cool water. Another way to ensure you are drinking enough water is to simply take a sip after reading a page in your history book. Read, sip, read, sip repeat.
Enjoy a distraction free work environment
Although it is fun to sit in a group at the library, think about if that is most beneficial to your individual studying strategy. Some work well in study groups, while others benefit from working alone with zero distractions. Create a calm place for yourself whether that is in the library, your bedroom, the dining hall, or a cozy corner in the student center. Although tempting, try not to work or study from your bed as your bed should be kept as a place solely for sleeping and resting. Drinking tea with ginseng while studying can help with alertness if you need a little extra boost.
Wind down with tunes
Create a playlist of songs that you love that are calming and on the quieter side. Whether that is classical music for your taste or a little Jack Johnson, make a list of about 20-30 minutes of music. By playing these tunes before bed your body will recognize that it is time to relax when the first note of “Banana Pancakes” comes through your iPhone since our sense of hearing is triggering our brain that it is bedtime. Drinking a cup of herbal tea, or a tisane, while getting into bed can also help remind the brain that it is bedtime and help to keep your mind free of distractions.
Take a mind break
Read a book, watch that Netflix show all your friends have been talking about, or better yet, meditate. Meditation when you have a million thoughts is incredibly beneficial. Lie, or sit, in a comfortable position with no strain on the body. Take deep long breaths and try to clear your mind. If you cannot imagine not thinking about your Chemistry final, bring your focus to your breathing or a single word. Meditation does not need to be a lengthy endeavor, even a few minutes of focused breaths is a great start.
What if the above don’t work and you find yourself overwhelmed? Using acupressure to relieve oneself of anxiety and stress can help. Massaging one of the body’s own balancing points, CV17, which can be found at the bottom of the breastbone and center of the chest, you will quickly move to a calmer place. This can easily be performed on oneself during an exam as well. Refer to our post on acupressure here.Good luck on finals and remember to just breathe!