Finals. Even the word can send a college student into Vietnam flashbacks of past battles against pre-calculus: America’s public enemy number one. There’s no way around it, you bought the six-figure ticket to attend college and now you’ve got to take the ride. But fret not! With these easy stress-relief tips right in time for those last few finals you can bid your existential dread a farewell.
Follow your heart. We all have something we love doing no matter how childish it may be. Don’t be afraid to let loose in this most desperate of times. Do some finger painting, sing your favorite song as loud as you can (as long as you’re not in the library), cook a world class college-affordable meal, go outside for a bit and shoot hoops. Do whatever used to make you smile before you entered the emotional whirlwind that is college life. If you’re so downtrodden inside from the thought of your exams that you don’t think you love anything anymore then you’re still not out of luck. Watch some B-52s music videos from the 1980’s – those whimsical goofballs are sure to lighten you up a bit and take you to your happy place. Close the textbook, wipe your brow and put some time aside for yourself. It will let that big brain of yours cool down and bring you some much needed relief.
Fight fire with fire. If you have a big written exam or essay as your final then take some time to write something you actually want to. Do some journaling or write a silly story to take your mind off things. Writing can be both therapeutic and distracting for you as you take time away from worrying yourself sick. Jot down some of your favorite memories as a kid. Think of all your triumphs and dreams and exaggerate them into stories that make you the king or queen of the world. Taking a trip down memory lane with the written word can put you in a better mindset before you return to the grim reality of your academic situation.
Fellas feel free to scoff away this notion, but all those hipster girls all over Instagram may have something figured out. All those smiles can’t be faked. Do some light stretching to release endorphins and watch some instructional YouTube videos on how to do a simple set of positions. The key here is that you’re focusing on your body and breathing while you let your mind focus on something specific. Imagine a flower in a field blowing in the breeze. You’re that flower. That communications exam? That’s no flower you need to be concerned with. Let it go for a bit.
Being all strung out on fast food, Marlboro Lights, and stimulants is no way to spend your life. One of the keys to feeling better is eating right and you don’t have to radicalize your diet to feel the difference. A couple simple ways to reduce your stress levels is to eat super foods like kale or even the classic healthy staples like apples, oranges, and nuts. These kinds of foods are proven to replenish your body and give you the natural energy that isn’t going to clean out your bank account. The hubbub about kale is real, but truth be told it is a bitter, earthy tasting substance. Try blending kale into a smoothie with apples and yogurt and you’ll see the results. This simple shakeup to your routine will give your brain a level of clarity that can’t be matched by caffeinated drinks and chemical fixes.
By trying out some of these methods for reducing stress you’re sure to lower that heart rate from a full-blown panic attack to a nice manageable pace. Remember to breathe. Finals will be over soon. Good luck, God speed, and happy finals week boys and girls.
Casey Rohlen is a contributor and the current online editor for Reflector Magazine. As a senior journalism major and writing minor at Georgia Southern, he spends his days having fun on Microsoft Word and his nights reading about the strange and macabre. When he’s not writing, he spends his free time playing a good round of sports or doing stand-up comedy whenever and wherever he can to little critical acclaim.