Here are 6 tips for making it through the finals safe and sound!
1. Get more sleep: Cliché, I know. But, it's at the top of everyone's lists for a reason. And, I know it sounds counter-intuitive when you barely can find the time to study, and carving even more time out of your study time may seem impossible. But studies show that getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night dramatically improves your focus, productivity and emotional health, which is all you need for finishing all your finals with a bam!
2. Get organized (make an action plan): This is huge - putting down on paper the tasks you need to accomplish and making a plan to work around the tasks is the first step to success when it comes to any endeavor. Being organized means taking the time to plan. By having a plan you achieve 3 main things:
a. Alleviate stress - when you know what you have to accomplish and how you plan on doing it gives you peace of mind and therefore eases the anxiety related to that particular task
b. Hold yourself accountable - you can track progress towards completing the task and it gives you a sense of satisfaction as you check off items on your "to do" list
c. Stay focused on the end result - you have a clear picture of what needs to be done and you are more likely to stay focused on the task at hand.
3. Avoid refined sugars: I know I might sound like your mom, but she's right! Sugar depletes your body of energy and impacts your mood and focus. When your body operates on sugar, it might feel like you are getting a sugar high for a few minutes after a sugary snack, which makes you feel good. But, that comes with the certainty that you'll crash a few minutes later and feel lethargic and out of focus. Instead, load up on protein-packed snacks, such as nuts, cheese, yogurt and meat for a boost in energy. Mothers really are always right.
4. Drink lots of water. Yes, water - not soda! Our brain is about 80% water, so it needs to be replenished with water frequently in order to operate effectively. Many times when we feel tired it is due to dehydration. By drinking more water than usual you are helping your body and brain to perform better and thus you'll feel more productive while studying for finals. You should aim for at least 8 large glasses of filtered water a day.
5. Think positive thoughts: Instead of imagining the worst case scenario when thinking of your next test, just focus on picturing yourself ace-ing the test. Spend a few minutes in a quiet place just picturing that outcome, no matter how silly that might seem at first. It's like playing your own movie in your head - the ending will be the same each time you watch a movie, so make this movie end the same on the real day too! This activity has the potential of rewiring your brain such that it allows for such thing to happen. You know the saying: "if you can dream it, you can achieve it!"
6. Reward yourself: If you make a plan of action for study you can set milestones for individual small tasks. This partners with the Pomodoro method; studying in increments of 25 minutes and then taking a small break! As you complete each milestone make sure you reward yourself at the end of that milestone with something small and exciting for you. It could be something as simple as taking a 30 minutes break to watch an episode of your favorite show. Or, just spending 15 minutes browsing Instagram. After that, you can resume your work and keep working towards your next milestone.
There you have it! Follow these steps and you'll set yourself up for success! You can do this! Happy Finals!