Without question, finals week is the most stressful part of the semester for every college student. It’s a make-or-break moment of time where each day is innately overwhelming to endure, no one is immune to feeling the academic pressure to succeed, and a single test has the power to determine a final grade.

destress, relax, de-stress

Unfortunately, this is also a time where college students may turn to unhealthy strategies such as misusing Ritalin and other study drugs to help them cope with the stress of finals or stay focused. Therefore, it’s important for them to prioritize taking care of their mental health during finals week, such as getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, and exercising, in order to avoid the scenario of feeling the need to use drugs or substances to deal with the stress. But coping with finals stress is not limited to the tips above. In fact, dealing with it can be unique and even fun!

Check out these five interesting ways to reduce finals stress to help you get through that last week of the semester!

Spend some time with your pets

Pets provide comfort and relief besides being our furry best friends. Touching a pet is scientifically proven to stimulate the production of oxytocin, the “love” hormone, and serotonin, the body’s natural painkillers that alleviate any symptoms of depression and anxiety from arising and lowers blood pressure in addition to reducing stress. Furthermore, spending time with your pet can encourage you to get some fresh air outside and embrace exercising alongside them on a daily walk. You could even take it one step further and travel somewhere new in town with them!

Fun fact: sometimes, a university may even implement the use of therapy dogs during finals week to help relieve the never-ending stress. Check out the school calendar to see if your university participates in implementing the use of therapy animals. If they don’t, you should definitely request it!

Get the creative juices flowing

You don’t need to be an artist to get the creative juices flowing! Creative outlets and hobbies, such as painting, drawing, singing, writing, and even cooking are perfect resources that tremendously relieve stress since they take your mind off the material you need to study in exchange for calming your nerves. Ultimately, a creative hobby is a mental solace; and studies show that allocating time to creative activity helps you get back into the groove of studying again, acts as a reward after your hard work, strengthens cognitive function, improves your overall focus, and even boosts self-esteem.

Do some volunteer work

There are always multiple volunteer experiences you can take part in your community, i.e., picking up trash, feeding the homeless, assisting at an animal shelter, etc. Volunteering enables you to positively impact the life of another person and the world around you, helps you get to know your community better, and become a place where you create new friendships. Lastly, volunteering keeps you aware of what’s occurring in your neighborhood so that you can always know when to take action to help improve it.

Hang out with a friend

The company of a friend never fails to lift someone’s spirits. Spending some time with a friend not only gives you the opportunity to catch up with a loved one, it also provides fulfilling conversation that help you put life into perspective. Have a concern? Friends will listen to you articulate and vent out your worries and thoughts and you can do the same for them. Plus, you’re guaranteed to share some laughs and make great memories with them without even trying. If anything, laughter is the best medicine and any quality time spent with a friend is precious and healing.

Utilize aromatherapy

Don’t underestimate the power of aromatherapy. Smell is one of the most powerful senses of the human body and can bring back the most vivid memories. In the case of utilizing aromatherapy for stress, turn to scents such as lavender, mint, or lemongrass. They’re naturally soothing smells that send your brain into a state of relaxation. You can also use aromatherapy in conjunction with a task you are already carrying out, such as studying or have it linger in a room where you are exercising, meditating, or simply taking a break.

Finals are inevitable, which is a catalyst for spiking stress levels and anxiety. They make it easy for one to neglect self-care and turn to coping mechanisms that may be more harmful than helpful. However, surviving finals is not impossible. You just need the right tools in your emotional arsenal to keep you focused on studying, which will lead to success! As long as you find the right ways to cope with stress during finals week, you are guaranteed to make the upcoming break that much sweeter.

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