Using stress management to survive finals 

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Stress management skills may just revolutionize student’s approach to finals this semester. Learn some essential tips on managing stress during the end of the semester! 

Stress management is a skill that many need, but it is not a widely taught skill in schools. Stress managment classes are rarely taught in high schools.  Stress management is essential for surviving the end of the semester. Feeling overwhelmed during finals may allow panic to set in and performance may drop. Here are some tips for stress management, taken from the Stress Management class at UVU. 

Embrace stress 

When recognized and used to motivate, stress can be a helpful tool instead of a hindrance.  Stanford Medicine says that short-term stress can be helpful in some situations, because it triggers our fight-or-flight response, giving us heightened immune response and clarity of thought.  

The Stress Management class at UVU separates stress into two categories, eustress and distress. Eustress motivates bodies to react quickly, and encourages action instead of panic. Distress typically freezes any responses. Distress is the kind of stress that can have negative consequences on mental and physical health.  

Know your stressors 

From identifying what assignments are due to what is occuring in daily life, assessing stressors can be a great way to handle them. Making plans on handling specific stressors, such as a final exam, can be a great first step in eliminating their stress. Other times, simply acknowledging that a stressor exist can help change that stress from a distress to a eustress.  

Practice stress busters 

Stress busters are things that calm someone down, sometimes immediately or sometimes they help eliminate stress that accrued over time. They vary from person to person, but some common suggestions involve meditating, listening to music, coloring, or doing progressive muscle relaxation. Mayo Clinic suggests that including mindfulness or meditation regularly can reduce stress and other chronic symptoms. Stress busters may be a great tool to utilize during finals week when stress is high. 

Know your circle of influence 

“Circle of Influence” is a concept that helps people define what is in their control and what is not. How and when people study is in their circle of influence, but people in their group project are outside of their control. Recognizing that can be an important first step to letting go of a stress that someone cannot fix. This concept goes hand in hand with identifying stressors. An additional step to identifying stressors can be labelling them as inside or outside their circle of influence. 

Continue to eat healthy and sleep well 

Eating well can reduce the negative effects of stress, according to Abbott Medicine. The same goes for sleep. The American Psychological Association notes that lack of sleep can actually make someone more stressed, as well as affect cognitive function and memory, all of which are essential to have functioning well during finals week. While some students may cut hours of sleep or begin to eat unhealthy meals during finals, this is actually the worst time to be doing that! Continuing to stick to a regular sleep schedule and a nutritious diet will actually help people do better on their finals. 

Don’t forget the fun 

Humor and hobbies are two essential things to general wellbeing. Laughter has a positive affect on immune strength and can help the human body combat stress, says Mayo Clinic. Hobbies and self expression often prevent burnout, which can lead to a more enjoyable finals experience. While students may have less time for their regular outings and activities, getting in some time to do fulfilling activities may make the experience of finals all the more enjoyable! 

Stress management may just revolutionize how students approach finals. Everything from valuing recharge time to embracing the stress can make the experience of tests and papers not just easier, but perhaps even fun.