Three Ways to Reduce Stress During Finals

It’s every college student’s worst nightmare: finals. You took notes on every word the professor said, bought the class textbook, looked at every quizlet out there and you are still feeling stressed. Even if you are completely prepared with all the material, you won’t be able to anticipate all the test questions. That stress feels like a boulder sitting on your chest and you really need a way to just relax so you can study. Luckily, there are hundreds of ways to reduce stress and anxiety and I am here to share with you my top three stress reducers during finals.

Music Breaks

I am the kind of person that cannot listen to music while I study. That’s why I make sure that while I am cramming those PowerPoint slides and review sheets in my brain, I take breaks to listen to genres that calm me down. I am a huge rock fan, the Eagles can move me and 38 Special can release some tension, which is why these are my go-to artists when I need to relax. My suggestion would be to have a playlist with songs that put your mind at ease so that you can throw it on when your music break begins. The best way to relieve stress is to get rid of as much empty space time as possible. If you’re sitting around doing nothing or trying to scroll through music you will start thinking of your exams and stressing yourself out again. Make your music breaks convenient and relaxing, add some sweet smelling candles and a zen garden to further your relaxation.

Make Time for Pets

If you’re an animal lover like me, then pets are your best stress relief. My dog, Argo, and my rabbit, Nibbler, are always there to give lots of love and affection when I am feeling stressed out. Something I love to do when studying is have my rabbit sit on my lap and play fetch with Argo. This gives me those small laughs in between slides when Nibbler licks my hand and Argo begs me to throw his ball again. Your pets are your biggest fans and will be by your side no matter what you’re doing. If you love animals, but don’t have pets consider going to dog parks, events at Farmingdale State College that involve pets, or even shelters. Taking a day in between studying can recharge your mind and alleviate a ton of stress that could be hindering your abilities to study. If you don’t like pets or have allergies, maybe consider downloading a fish tank app on your phone. There are plenty of apps that allow you to care for and design fish tanks, and come on who doesn’t like looking at fish?

Breathing Exercises

This is probably my favorite way to reduce anxiety while studying because of how convenient it is do. There are many different breathing exercises you can do to reduce anxiety, but the one that works for more is the 4-8-8-8 second technique. This technique involves breathing in for four seconds, holding your breath for eight, breathing out for eight, and then waiting for eight seconds before breathing in again. It’s easy to start with and if done correctly won’t cause someone to get lightheaded. If you are a person who gets lightheaded easily, it is recommended that you hold, breath out, and wait for 6 seconds rather than 8. This technique helps to relax your muscles and clear your mind. You can also calm your heart rate for those moments of chest clenching anxiety of when you look at the clock and realize you’ve been studying for hours but things still don’t make sense. I like to sit up straight in my chair and close my eyes when I start this breathing exercise. You can also put on music or light candles to make your environment more relaxing but I prefer complete silence for reducing my stress.

Every person is different and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. But I hope that by sharing my ways of reducing stress and anxiety you will find new ways to secure yourself during finals as well. I know these exams are tough and you are trying your best. Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, then you are at risk for mentally exhausting yourself and burning out. Neither of these will help your finals, so I ask that you please relax with some music, pet some animals, and remember to just breathe.

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