7 Ways to Alleviate Stress During Finals Week

7 Ways to Alleviate Stress During Finals Week

Pass that test without all the stress.

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Nobody likes finals.

It's the time of the quarter that makes you reminisce fondly about your midterms. You're a hundred times more stressed out than usual—it's hell.

Even though nothing can truly take away the stress of finals, there are steps you can take to alleviate some of that worry. By taking a little time out of your day here and there, you can improve your mindset and feel a little better.

So, what do you do?

1. Get Enough Sleep.

Seriously! Your books will be there in the morning. Getting enough sleep is crucial to your success during finals week. If you can't get a full eight hours, that's OK. Just make sure you're actually sleeping, and that you're getting more than two or three hours. But try for eight. You'll feel better.

2. Drink Water.

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Everyone knows that caffeine is a college student's best friend, right? Wrong. Putting down that coffee for some water is the best thing you can do for your mind and body during finals week (and all the time, honestly).

3. Meditate.

Meditation is seriously underrated. Taking even ten minutes to meditate and refocus can make your life during finals so much easier. Use a meditation app or watch a YouTube tutorial to help you get started, and give your mind a break.

4. Hit the Gym.

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Exercise is commonly recommended as a way to alleviate stress. When you're studying for finals, make sure you take some time to get your endorphins pumping. Spend 30 minutes at the gym, go for a jog, or do a little yoga—just do something. It'll make your mind and body feel better, and give you a break from the books.

5. Write a List.

This might seem silly, but making a list is a good way to stay on track while you study. We all forget about things, so writing a list of everything you need to study will help you prioritize your time. Seeing everything you have to do can help you figure out the most important things, too. This will save you a lot of worries for later.

6. Use Aromatherapy.

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Start using aromatherapy to "diffuse" yourself. Spending the money to get a little diffuser and a few oils are worth it, especially since it's a good thing to use every day. Peppermint, lavender, and lemongrass are all recommended, so use those during finals week to help alleviate your stress.

7. Save Some Time for Fun.

Don't forget to save some time for fun. Watch a movie, go to the beach with a friend, or grab dinner with your mom. Studying is important, but so is time away from your notes.

No matter what you do, finals week is stressful. Do what you can to make it a little easier on yourself. Keep your mind and body happy, and get an A on those exams!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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10 Things You Can Do If You're Feeling Down

Start feeling happy one step at a time.

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There are many reasons why one's mood can go south. There is no pinpointing a certain thing to help get everyone out of their sadness or depression but there are a couple things that will help almost everybody. Sadness and depression does not just go away, you have to work for it. It is possible to overcome but it can be tricky. This is a list of things that help me when I am feeling down, if they do not work for you, don't be afraid to get the help that you need.

1. Take a step back and assess

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If you find yourself yourself constantly thinking about the thing that is getting you down, take a step back and assess the situation. Break it down and figure out what you can do to make sure you will be okay.

2. Take a day off

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On your off day, take a break and practice some self care. Do something that you have wanted to do like eat breakfast outside, hang out with your friends, sleep in, dye your hair, or go for a day trip. Do something that will enjoy.

3. Download self help apps

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There are many self help apps including Calm Harm, Headspace, and Success Psychology. Each app varies in its services but most of them focus on meditation. Their main goal is to help you get into a calm state, and meditation is a good way of achieving that.

4. Create a schedule

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Create a schedule to stick to. Doing this will help you get up and do what you need to even if you don't have the motivation. Make sure to give yourself some free time though.

5. Talk to someone

You can talk with anyone you want like a family member, friend, or even a therapist. Sometimes it helps to just say things out loud and get an opinion on what you should do. You aren't bothering anyone so don't be afraid to talk it out.

6. Eat something healthy

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If you don't always eat something nutritional, eating something healthy might make you feel a little bit better. Eating better might not be the exact therapy needed, but if it makes you feel even a little better, try it. It might help balance hormones, vitamins, or nutrition that your body needs.

7. Don't sleep for too long

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It is important to get enough sleep and its always nice to catch up on sleep, but if you sleep for too long then you will just feel tired all day. Set an alarm at the time you want to wake up and get up at that time. You might not want to be awake, but you'l feel better if you're not groggy all day.

8. Go for a walk

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Walking will help you get out of the house and get some exercise. You are able to get some fresh air and clear your mind. If you want to start exercising, walking everyday could be a gateway to start going to the gym.

9. Clean up

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Clean your room or house, do chores that you have been putting off. You will likely feel accomplished after doing so and feel better now that everything is clean.

10. Challenge negative thoughts

If your first thought is a negative one, try to spin it around. Train yourself to think differently. If your first thought is "what if it goes wrong?" you can turn it around and think "what if it goes right?" There is a saying that goes something like "your first thought is what you have been conditioned to think, and your second thought is what you actually think" and I believe it applies when you have to train yourself to think more positive thoughts.

You can do this, don't give up.

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