Finals suck. Two weeks straight of studying, exams and the pressure of getting home for the holiday can really take a toll on college students and our health.
The good news is, finals are still a little more than a week away, which means there’s plenty of time to get organized and make sure they don’t (completely) wreck your life. Here are my tips to survive finals week.
Fix your sleep schedule. Now.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. You don’t have to be perfect, but get as close as you possibly can, and at least try for a full eight hours of rest. According to Northwestern Medicine, your sleep schedule can “affect your mental sharpness, performance, emotional well-being and energy level,” all of which are important factors for effective studying and test taking. Sleep also helps keep you healthy, and nothing is worse than coming down with a cold right before a big exam.
Plan your days.
It doesn’t matter if you use a planner, write a list or fill up a Google Calendar. Just taking the time to write out what you need to do each day — and when you need to do it — can keep you productive. Write down exactly what classes you want to study and for how long. But don’t forget to pencil in breaks for eating, stretching and human connection. Finals should not strip away your humanity. You should do this in advance, too, so you don’t waste precious time in between two finals trying to figure out what needs to get done in the coming days.
Find a good coping mechanism for stress.
Print some coloring pages, make time for the gym, write lists of happy or motivating things. Whatever gets you in a relaxed headspace. Then get in the habit of using those tools when you start to feel overwhelmed. Try to stay away from using unhealthy activities such as smoking, drinking, binge watching TV or excessive sleeping as a crutch. You can treat these (fun!) unhealthy things as more of a reward for finishing your tasks, but using them to relax can lead to distraction and procrastination.
Clean your space and your stuff.
You probably won’t have time to clean your room or do your laundry during finals, but sleeping in a clean room, on clean sheets or in a clean t-shirt feels much better than living in filth. According to a study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, having a messy, cluttered home can correlate with depression and stress. Disinfecting your room and furniture can keep you from getting sick as well.
The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body and prioritize your health and wellbeing. Get organized, get clean and get prepared to live your best life as you enter finals week.