Editorial Notebook

Stress relief for finals

Sleep, exercise, and relaxation keys to survival

Thanksgiving and winter break can’t come soon enough. With finals coming up, stress and tensions will be running high. Stress can have a huge impact on grades and overall health. When feeling stressed during a test, for example, I often make small errors that I usually wouldn’t make. Health-wise, stress can cause me to have nasty headaches or migraines, which reduce my ability to focus, study, and do well on assignments. That, in turn, causes me to become more stressed. Thankfully, RPI offers a plethora of services to help you relax, ace finals, and break the vicious stress cycle.

When studying for final exams, you might feel like staying up all night before the exam. Instead, it’s a good idea to get a good night’s rest before the exam. In fact, getting enough sleep two days before the exam will do more help than you might think; most of our information processing happens when we are asleep. Cramming the night before the test will just have you more stressed, worried, and tired during the test. Throughout finals week, make sure to get enough sleep each night. Sleeping well on non-test days will leave you refreshed and ready for more studying.

Unfortunately, with finals come stress. Sleep will only remove some of the stress; engaging in other, non-studying activities during finals week will also help you relax. Participating in a club helps reduce stress. However, if your club only causes you stress, then doing an unorganized activity that you enjoy—whether it be reading, watching Netflix, or spending time with friends—is also something to consider. Exercise is also a viable option.

During the study days, the Mueller Center hosts many activities designed to relieve stress. Yoga, an exercise class, or free food all help you escape the workload. Plus, they are all free and often times a great way to try out a class with no commitment to join. But if you do happen to enjoy the class a lot, they usually offer the class during the spring semester–for a fee. Also, even taking a 10 to 15 minute break to walk or stretch can make a difference. Moving from one study location to another can also help. A change in scenery is always nice; being stuck in the same room all day can be extremely boring and make concentrating on studying harder. During study days, Red & White has free food and drinks at the Heffner Alumni House. This is a great opportunity to study in a different location and, of course, there’s free food!

And finally, the Counseling Center also has tips for reducing stress, managing time, and taking care of your mental health. However, during this time of the semester, it can be hard to schedule an appointment because they are usually very busy. But, if you do get the chance, the Counseling Center has a relaxation room, and they offer stress relieving techniques.

To me, though, the best stress reliever is going home. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving break. Any break from classes, tests, and homework will be welcome.