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“Calm Down”

May 8, 2013

Excuse me; you want me to do what?! Those two words are incredibly infuriating to hear, especially when you are waist deep in notes, textbooks and a mishmash of papers your teachers have handed out over the past semester. In a high-stress situation, the last thing you want to hear is “calm down” and with finals week approaching, high stress levels are not uncommon. We have compiled some suggestions to lessen the anxiety as you study for your finals to keep you healthy and stress-free!

Stay Healthy!

“Good nutrition should be part of your study plan because it’s going to help you ace those tests,”

– Jessica Howard in 10 Tips for Healthy Eating During Exams.

Eat

Image

Courtesy of plumandijello Flickr

Breakfast? But I am not hungry! That is not an excuse! Jump start your day with a healthy breakfast of milk and cereal, fruit, oatmeal, or eggs. Check out Lisa Freeman’s suggestions on Start Cooking for some yummy breakfast ideas that are healthy, quick and simple!

 

 

 

 

  • Stay far away from comfort foods – pizza, candy, chocolate – it is so tempting to reach for them on the grocery store shelf, but you must resist! Pack some snacks prior to studying at the library or a friend’s home to avoid even making contact with these killer foods!
  • Coffee – I must admit this is very disappointing. Too much caffeine during test week is not the best decision; it can make you jittery, nervous and cause insomnia.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day, try to keep your diet regular and avoid long periods of not eating.
  • Vitamin C, Vitamin C, Vitamin C. You need it for energy and to ward off any potential illness, which many of us are all too familiar with during test week…

Exercise

This is probably the last thing you want to do in the midst of studying since you are so drained mentally that you cannot even contemplate the thought of working up a sweat.

Image

Courtesy of lululemon athletic via Flickr

A study published in the journal, Psychological Medicine, with research done by King’s College London researchers states,

“…people who reported exercising just one time a week had better cognitive scores than those who didn’t exercise that much, suggesting that just a little bit of exercise can still do the brain a lot of good.”

If that is not reason enough, here are a few extra benefits not to be overshadowed: exercise will give you that extra zap of energy that you are so desperately seeking; you will sleep well and simply feel better.

Sleep

Do not cheat yourself on sleeping. Keep in mind that staying up until the crack of dawn to cram for a test will not only mentally exhaust you, but physically as well.

Extra Suggestions

Take a Break

Find time in your day to do something you enjoy. Need a short break to go for a walk, visit a store, listen to music, read a book or peruse Facebook for a bit? Go for it; you have earned it! Just make sure your little break does not evolve into a day of procrastination.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Breathe in and breathe out. Stress Relief Tools provides a simple guide on how to breathe properly and become ultra relaxed.

Laughter

“When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered.”

– MayoClinic

Could laughter really be the best medicine? Time to find out!

These are not just suggestions solely for use during finals week, but can be practiced daily. Hopefully, these ideas prove helpful on your journey to conquer final exams and projects in the upcoming month. Best of luck!

Bibliography

Dregan, A. and M.C. Guilliford. “Leisure-time physical activity over the life course and cognitive functioning in late mid-adult years: a cohort-based investigation.” Psychological Medicine, March 12, 2013. Accessed April 17, 2013. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8854963

Freeman, Lisa. “8 Fast and Easy Breakfasts for People on the Go.” Start Cooking. Accessed April 17, 2013. http://startcooking.com/8-fast-and-easy-breakfasts-for-people-on-the-go

Howard, Jessica. “10 Tips for Healthy Eating During Exams.” Start Cooking. Accessed April 17, 2013. http://startcooking.com/10-tips-for-healthy-eating-during-exams

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stress relief from laughter? Yes, no joke.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed April 17, 2013. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief/SR00034

National Editorial.“Comfort food makes bad mood worse.” The Nation, March 25, 2013. Accessed April 22, 2013. http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/editorial/comfort-food-makes-bad-mood-worse

Stress Relief Tools. “The Secrets of Diaphragmatic Breathing.” Stress Relief Tools. Accessed April 17, 2013. http://www.stress-relief-tools.com/diaphragmatic-breathing.html

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