No matter the severity of it, I’m sure you’ve all experienced some form of anxiety in your lives. If you’re familiar with chest pains, the inability to catch your breath and excessive ticks that happen when you’re nervous, you may be familiar with anxiety. Anxiety can be paralyzing. It can overwhelm us in ways that other people see as completely unnecessary. It can ultimately stop us from living our everyday lives the way we want to live them, and stop us from handling certain situations the way we wish we could.
There are many things that set off my anxiety. For example, it gets difficult to handle the week prior to, and the week of, end-of-the-semester finals. My friends see me stressed out and struggling, and sometimes I can't even tell them why I'm feeling this way. Sometimes, even when I know I have everything under control, my stress gets the best of me. Although I don't have a full grasp on my own advice, yet, here are some tips for finals week that will help you get through finals and onto relaxing over break.
Procrastination and anxiety do not mix. As much as we all want to wait until the night before to start studying for an exam, we can't. And although it is cliche, do not wait to get your life in order until the last possible second. Write excessively in your planner, and if you don't have one, invest in one, even if it's just to keep your sanity during finals.
I always tell myself, "No, you don't have time for a break," but it bites me in the butt. If I don't take a break every once and a while, no matter how much I have left to do, I will lose my mind, and so will you. You'll continue to get anxious until you give yourself a minute to breathe and recollect yourself.
Lean on your friends.
This is both a difficult time for you and your friends, but you probably handle it differently than they do. While taking your breaks, you don't have to keep to yourself. You're by yourself too much when studying for finals, and you get stuck in your own head. Escape your thoughts and chat with your friends or even call your mom. They'll appreciate a break from reality as well, and you most likely need this.
Do not cram.
I'm not kidding, this will just drive you crazy and end up not helping at all. It will also psych you out right before your exam. Take a small break before your exam and do not study too close to when you have to take the actual test, or you will just freak out for no reason. At this point, you either know it or you don't, so put the last minute notes away. You need this time to relax so you can remain calm throughout the exam.
Make a soothing playlist.
I have one that I listen to every day. This time is especially stressful and overwhelming for people with high anxiety, and music always calms me down. Whether you are the type of person who can listen to music while studying, or you just use it as an escape during your breaks, it can be very helpful.
Drink a ton of water.
Sometimes I forget to do this when I'm really stressed out. Carry your water bottle with you everywhere and stay healthy this week. The last thing you need is dehydration or sickness during your exams.
It sounds dumb, but focusing on my breathing always helps calm me down. I tell myself, "Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth," and it truly helps in desperate situations.
Remind yourself that no matter the outcome, you're going to be okay.
So, you bomb a final. OK, that sucks, but you're going to make it to tomorrow. You have the privilege of being in college in the first place, and a bad grade on an exam is not going to determine your future. At all.
Anxiety may be one of your biggest struggles, but there are plenty of tips that will help during finals. I know it never helps when someone tells you to just relax or to simply calm down, so take my advice or come up with your own list of things that you think will benefit you and utilize them to the fullest. Good luck on finals.