The right amount of stress can keep us motivated and working hard, but too much of it takes a toll on our well-being. We often learn this the hard way when burnout begins to take its toll. That's why it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress, especially during finals. Here’s a quick guide for keeping your stress under control this week.
Sometimes it may feel like there’s just too much to get done and not enough time to do it all. If this is the case for you, start by writing it all out—every upcoming assignment, project, due date, etc.—and plan your time backwards. Prioritize your work based on deadlines and the amount of time it will take to complete each assignment.
Jot down exactly when you work on each task and commit to the schedule you set for yourself. Creating a roadmap in advance may not create more time, but it can help you to visualize exactly where your time is going and how to best use it. Ready to get started? We recommend trying out the ultimate to-do list and organizer app, Wunderlist, free on iOS and Android.
Keep up with the basics
Your mind and body work best when you take care of them. Drink a full water bottle every few hours, pack plenty of healthy snacks before hitting the library, plan for at least 7 hours of sleep per night and don’t be afraid to work in a 20-minute power nap here and there too. If you need a reminder, try setting up alarms on your phone.
We recommend using Habitbull, a free app that helps you track good habits and rewards you for meeting your goals. If sleep is a bigger obstacle, try out the Relax Melodies app for soothing sounds to shut your mind off before bed.
Research has shown that studying for long periods and pulling all-nighters can do more harm than good. Instead, try out this scientifically proven routine: set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus on a single task. When the timer is up, take a 5-minute break to walk around, talk to a friend or check Instagram. Repeat the cycle three more times before taking a 30-minute break to refresh and reset.
Keep your expectations in check
Stress can often feed off of the unrealistic expectations and pressure you put on yourself. It’s important that your check in periodically to keep your expectations in check. Ask yourself where your expectations are coming from, if you’re pressuring yourself to be perfect, and how these factors may be affecting you. They may be hindering your ability to actually perform well. Talking to a friend about the pressures you’re facing can offer some perspective and help you let go of things that may not be worth our mental energy. If you’re not comfortable talking to a friend, consider attending Let’s Talk, a free services that provides informal and confidential consultations for students.
Relax and recuperate
Finding ways to channel your stress can help keep you balanced, so you can handle the next stressor that may come your way. We recommend taking time for self-care activities like watching an episode on Netflix, getting active, spending time in nature, or catching up with a friend. For meditation, we especially like the apps Breathe2Relax and Stop, Breathe, and Think.
Stressed about finals? Find a list of free finals events, top study spots and more by visiting colorado.edu/finals.