Ways to De-stress During Finals – Christopher Leonard, PsyD

Finals time is here and it is a stressful time for most students. Students look to be successful with finals and at times may engage in behaviors that may lead to more stress in the process. Therefore, let’s talk about ways to manage our stress with finals, engage in healthy self-care behaviors, and most importantly, engage in specific ways to de-stress.

When managing stress with finals, some keys to success are to set up a routine, map out your finals and develop a study plan, and coordinate with peers with reviewing coursework and materials on the finals. Setting up a routine will help you maintain balance and predictability during this unique time of year. After creating your routine, pick when and which order course finals and papers are reviewed/completed. Also, make sure you do not prep and study for every final on your own. Seek out peers for support, questions, and focus. 

Once you have a plan to address the stress that comes with finals, engage in the classic self-care behaviors. First, create a healthy sleep schedule and know when you are most effective with studying. Engage in healthy eating behaviors. Remember, food is your energy and is important to your success. Finally, get active. Find time to go be with friends or supports and find ways to be active and healthy in whatever way fits you. It is also a good way to add breaks during your studying.

Lastly, try to be aware of your stress level. During this time when your stress level is high, attempt to engage in some specific de-stressing behaviors. For example, if you notice that you are holding tension or respond to stress in a physical way, do something physical, if you are feeling emotional or isolated, be social with others, and if your mind is racing, do something mindfully. The take home is to match your type of stress response (physical, emotional, or cognitive) with a de-stressor that is physical, emotional, or cognitive.

Overall, finals time can be very stressful for many students. However, if students can effectively plan for finals, engage in healthy self-care behaviors, and utilize specific de-stressing activities, you can have a more relaxed finals week. This will allow you to better focus while studying, and hopefully see positive results in your classes after a semester of hard work.