Deep breaths before the final stretch

Anne Shaffer
Associate Features Editor

As you open up your planner or calendar app this week, you may notice something a little terrifying: final exams are coming up.
At this point, you may begin to feel palpitations in the area of your chest around your heart. But it can’t be finals week yet!
Take deep breaths: it is not yet finals week. However, you could be starting to feel the finals week stress bearing down on you as the final assignments pile on. So, instead of trying to de-stress while you are also trying to study, why not start de-stressing now so that when the big week comes, you are prepared? Take a few minutes to start the process now and plan things which you can use to halt the stress in its tracks when exam time is looming.
1. Plan your study time: According to a social networking site specifically created for people with anxiety disorders, Anxietysocial.net, planning your day and including study time is one way to prevent the stress of exam time. You can use that handy calendar app to program study time into your day and help prevent procrastination.
2. Exercise: This could include yoga, running, walking or any other kind of exercise that you find enjoyable. The Huffington Post says that even exercise breaks of 10 minutes can be beneficial after being cooped up in your room working. If it is not a particularly nice day out, jumping jacks in your room are a good substitute to outdoor activities. When you are scheduling study time, also plan exercise breaks!
3. Clean: Despite the fact that cleaning is probably not on the top of anyone’s list during crunch time, getting rid of the clutter around your desk or in your room can help prepare you for what is to come. According to the Huffington Post, the action of cleaning is like exercise in that it releases endorphins, and it also gives you a nice, clean space in which to work later as you get ready to take the plunge into studying.
4. Get your sleep: If you are not getting the proper amount of sleep, you cannot approach studying in the right mindset. In fact, not getting enough sleep (generally, six to eight hours is the advised amount) might be creating more stress. However, sometimes the all-nighter becomes inevitable. To prevent the loss of sleep entirely, especially when pulling an all-nighter, take naps of about 30 minutes in length, according to the Huffington Post.

One way to de-stress is to view things that make you laugh, such as cats doing funny things on YouTube.
One way to de-stress is to view things that make you laugh, such as cats doing funny things on YouTube.

5. Do something funny: Another useful study break can be to find something to make you laugh. YouTube videos of funny cats playing with vacuum cleaners can help de-stress you as you work. Before studying gets under way, create a Pinterest board or a bookmarks folder where you can repin pictures of cute puppies frolicking on the beach or store funny sites so you can access these when you are at the end of your studying rope.
6. Make a playlist: While it may not be good to listen to your favorite pop or rock tunes while you are studying, having a playlist of your favorite songs at the ready for when you want a quick break is a good solution. If you pick the right tunes, you may even be inspired to get up and dance, which is another way to break stress, according to About.com writer Kelci Lynn Lucier. If you want to listen to music while you are studying, create a playlist of classical composers to keep you calm while you work.
When finals are at last upon you, keeping the above tips in mind may help you to keep calm amid the whirlwind of studying. However, do not lose sight of the exam at the end and make sure to not spend too much time watching the funny cat on repeat.