Thriving, Not Just Surviving During Finals

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

As we come upon the last few weeks of the semester, including the finals we’ve tried not to think about, it is important to take some time for ourselves and our health. As much as it seems like staying at your desk and wracking up the study hours will be beneficial, I’m here to remind you that keeping your body and mind healthy is more important. Now, I know that can be a daunting feat, especially when there are only 24 hours in the day. So, let’s break it down and rock fall finals together!

Staying Active

Moving our bodies is crucial and it’s even more important when stress levels are high. Taking breaks from studying is key, and what better way to spend those breaks than getting active. I totally get that everyone has a different amount of time that they are willing to spend on moving about so I’m going to lay it out by commitment time.


If you find yourself getting restless but you don’t want to leave the house, try some quick dynamic stretching.

  • Roll out your shoulders. Make big circles going forward and backward.

  • Do some nice slow head circles to loosen up your neck muscles. We spend a lot of time looking down at our wonderful notes, give your neck a break.

  • Stretch that spine! Roll all the way down and touch your toes/shins/knees, wherever you end up is fine.

  • Last but not least, roll out your wrists and grab your fingertips with the opposite hand and pull back to stretch the front of the wrist. We do so much typing and handwriting that our wrists bear a lot of pressure.

If you feel like you have some more time to move, I suggest yoga. Yoga is one of those things that has many properties to center yourself. Another perk is that the time commitment is flexible, you get to choose how much time you spend (and there is no wrong answer, imagine that). Here are some videos to follow along with if you don’t know where to start!


Lastly, if you do want to get out of the house and have some more high-intensity movement, check out the new ARC. Working out at the gym can give your brain the longer break it sometimes needs. Get your blood flowing and your heart racing. Challenging your body can help your mind. Walking back to the desk after a good workout can act as a good reset. Productivity increases, focus increases, and we can manifest that our grades will increase :)

I also want to remind y’all that even if the gym seems intimidating, everyone is more focused on themselves than you. For me, that is something that used to make me hesitate before going into the gym. A gym is a place for self-growth, even if it might not seem like it at first. Take that time to walk to the ARC, hit a few machines, or just chill in the free weight section, it’s all up to you!


Food For Thought

Food is your fuel, it’s your baseline for the rest of your day. So, with finals and studying coming up around the corner it’s important to be mindful about what we put in our bodies. We’ve all heard of the superfoods, but surprisingly, some other foods have been found to help our brains with studying and exams specifically. I did some research for us and here are a few of the foods that I found.

  • Berries: Specifically blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Smoothies are a great option to get a good boost of berries

  • Citrus: Drinking juices is key! It has also been found that pairing juices with protein in your meal can be very beneficial to brain health.

  • Cocoa: This one is exciting, I’m telling you to eat dark chocolate to help your health. Take this opportunity and buy that chocolate bar for finals.

  • Nuts: These are a great choice for snacking with a purpose. Studies have also shown that nuts help improves your mental health. I’m jazzed about learning that, I hope you all are as well.

  • Eggs: This one might not come as too much of a surprise. You must eat all parts, not just the egg whites

  • Avocados: Scoop it, mash it, spread it, mix in some salsa. Whatever your method is, eat up!

For more information about these foods and a little bit about the science behind how they work check out this website!

Brain food for studying


Be Kind To Yourself

Just like the heading says: be kind to yourself. It is so beyond important to check in on how you are doing, and it’s ok if the answer is not positive. Especially around high-intensity events, your mental health can go by the wayside. I’m here to remind you to listen to what you need in the moment. Taking care of yourself is your number one priority. You get one brain, one body. Have some time for yourself, “you time” if you will. Go for a walk and listen to some music. Sitting with your thoughts can be scary sometimes but it’s part of growing as a person.


It’s also important to allow yourself some slack. Everyone makes mistakes and that’s completely normal! Take a breath, you got this. I know that as individuals in the sciences, we face high levels of intensity in our academics. Tests are not the defining factor of your success. Remember that and don’t you forget it!

If you find yourself wanting more support with your mental health, check out the counseling and psychological services here on campus. You are strong for reaching out for help, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Bonus: in the clinic, you can spend time with their emotional support doggies-Baxter and Luna! I know if you are like me, you miss your pets. These pups are here for us in the meantime.


I hope that at least a few of these recommendations will help y’all in the upcoming weeks. It is completely doable to set yourself up to nail finals. Even if you might have doubts, I believe in you enough for the two of us.


Talk to you y’all soon,

Anna





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