“How are you?”
A lot of people answer this question with something positive like “good!” or “great, thanks!” along with a smile. A group that often won’t, though, is post-secondary students. If you’re a student, you know that the fast-paced, competitive nature of school tends to take a toll on mental health, and if someone asks how you’re doing, you’ll probably answer “stressed”, “tired”, or “some mixture of both”. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Believe it or not, there are some simple—yet effective— ways to help manage stress, especially during final exam season.
Make sure your basic needs are met
This means eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Maintaining a healthy body will help prevent you from falling ill and —consequently—falling behind in your studies. You’ll also be more mentally sharp, which will help with focus and memory.
Manage time effectively
For some, this is easier said than done, but there are some useful tricks that will help your budget your time. Mark dates and times of final exams on a calendar as soon as you know them. This way, you will be well-prepared ahead of time and avoid having the exam sneak up on you. You may also find it helpful to create a study schedule corresponding to exam dates. Map out your weeks and days, and fit in time for each subject. By being organized and keeping on top of things, you will gain some major peace of mind.
Speaking of peace of mind, remember to practice mental self-care
While building your schedule, plan for breaks and activities that you enjoy and help you relax. Meditation is a great way to relieve stress, but you might want to do something creative, play a recreational sport, or take a yoga class—whatever will help you unwind between study sessions.
Take advantage of the resources available to you
There are often an abundance of them on campus during exam time, such as pet therapy and tea stations. Another great option is to drop in for a walk-in counselling session for additional stress management tips, or just for someone to talk to.
Above all, keep in mind that stress is a normal part of life, and it can even be healthy when managed well. You’re not alone, and there are always options available to you. Remember to breathe—you got this!