5 must-try tips to reduce stress over finals | Health & Wellness Services


Here’s some good news: the fall semester is almost over! And some bad news: it’s almost finals week. Whether you have exams or projects coming up, here are some practice tips to help you manage and reduce stress around finals.

Change the narrative

You may not realize it, but the way you talk to yourself can help (or hinder) your progress when working through stressful tasks. For instance, you may find yourself saying something like, “Ugh, I should really be studying right now.”

This type of self-talk can increase stress and create unnecessary pressure to complete a given task. Instead, try changing the narrative and see how you feel taking a gentler approach. For instance, you could say something like, “It would be a great kindness to my future self if I got  up right now and did XYZ.”

Changing the narrative in this way can help you practice self-compassion, which can be especially beneficial when you’re trying to work through stressful situations or demanding tasks. Keep in mind that this isn’t a foolproof formula. Changing the way you speak to yourself might not always make you jump into action, but it can help you be kinder to yourself in the process.

Prioritize and simplify self-care tasks

During stressful times, self-care may start to seem like a chore. When you can’t do everything you want to do, it’s important to identify which self-care tasks are necessary for you to function. Prioritize these tasks and simplify them whenever possible. Here are a few examples of tasks you can simplify:

HygienePracticing good hygiene can be difficult when you’re feeling burnt out, depressed or overwhelmed. However, it’s an important component of both our mental and physical health. If you don’t have the energy to take a shower, consider trying one of these simplified tasks:

  • Put a plastic or water-safe stool in your shower, so you can sit down and relax while you bathe.
  • Opt to wash your face and brush your teeth instead of a full shower. If you’re still struggling, consider investing in micellar face wipes, dry shampoo or wisp toothbrushes to simplify this task even further.

LaundryThe way we dress can be a reflection of our emotional state, and wearing clean clothes can help improve our well-being. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your laundry, consider trying one of these simplified tasks:

  • Try putting your clothes away into their respective drawers without folding them. This will allow you to still sort between shirts, pants and other articles of clothing while reducing the amount of time you spend folding or hanging them.
  • Wear your clothes more than once before washing. Most articles of clothing, like jeans, can be worn two or three times before they truly need to be washed.

Dishes: Whether you live alone or with roommates, dishes can be a task that causes many of us stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by dishes in the sink, consider trying this simplified task:

  • Opt to use paper plates and plastic utensils for meals until finals week is over. For those of us who are environmentally conscious, this may be a hard alternative to accept. However, it’s okay to pause your efforts to save the planet while you work on saving your own mental health. A few days of less-than-perfect sustainability won’t make or break your efforts overall.

Groceries and food: Eating regular meals and snacks can help you stay motivated and energized throughout finals. However, if the thought of grocery shopping feels like a burden, consider trying one of these simplified tasks:

  • Try ordering your groceries ahead of time for pickup. This allows you to browse and select products on your phone and schedule a time that works for you to come pick them up.
  • If you’re too overwhelmed to pick up your groceries, opt for delivery instead. Many grocers provide free or low-cost delivery services. You can also order groceries for delivery from retailers like Amazon.
  • If you’re struggling with food insecurity or need extra help affording groceries this month, check out the Buff Pantry at the UMC. They provide up to 20 pounds of food each week to students, staff, faculty and affiliates who need a helping hand.
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