Ways to de-stress this exam season

Despite the glorious sunshine we’ve had in the past two weeks, the typical November showers of Vancouver have once again caught up with us. Arriving along with that is the final week of school of the semester (and the year!) – I know, where did the past three months go?!

It’s the final crunch, and we all can’t wait for it to be over and the break to arrive – as we hurry around from lecture hall to lecture hall, classroom to classroom, finish up those last essays and papers, write our final tests and quizzes – and at the same time, tensions are building and before we know it, stress has once again crept up behind us and refuses to let go.

It’s okay to feel stressed. University was always meant to be challenging. A little stress in our lives can be a healthy push of additional motivation and determination beneficial towards increased productivity and better outcomes. But when there is too much stress, the opposite effect may take hold.

But don’t fret! Here are some simple ways for you to deal with stress and approach your final season with confidence:

  • Eating: We hear this all the time, “I could cook a healthy dinner, or I could just get a [insert fast food of choice] and use that time to study.” Truth is, a balanced diet including full meals and small snacks every few hours actually helps with your metabolism, gives you the nutrients your brain thrives on, and keeps you alert and awake to better absorb knowledge as you study. Foods recommended are those high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. So next time you plan on spending an entire afternoon in the library, bring a small snack such as a box of fruits and veggies or some popcorn. At the same time, always remember to stay hydrated! Help your body feel good so that you are able to study more effectively.

Come by the Wellness Centre on Thursday November 27th from 9am-12pm for the Breakfast Matters event. There will be free pancakes and you can learn about healthy eating from Wellness Peers.

Flickr via Creative Commons
Flickr via Creative Commons
  • Sleeping: Finishing up final assignments and studying for exams can be crazy, but sleep deprivation may lead to graver consequences. No matter how many things there are on your to-do list, having six-eight hours of good quality sleep is crucial for you to be able to physically handle these demands. A good way to ensure you get your sleep is to plan ahead. If there are X number of things you wish to complete that day, and each item takes Y hours, plan backwards from the time you wish to end the day/go to bed while putting aside time for eating, exercising, and breaks as well. It’s great to be productive, but leaving time for your body to rest and regenerate is just as equally important.
  • Exercising: As someone who has trouble keeping a regular exercising schedule, I have found that finding time to exercise during finals season has done wonders for me. Physical exercise – including a walk around campus, a quick jog, or even just doing some jumping jacks in your room – are all ways to help your body get rid of excess stress. Using these as study breaks also clears your mind for better productivity later.
  • Seeking extra support: Even after having done everything mentioned above (and maybe some other ways you yourself have found effective in dealing with stress), it is always entirely possible that stress continues to have a negative effect in your life. In that case, it is never too late to seek additional support. UBC has an array of programs that work with both peers as well as professionals to best meet your needs as a university student. Seeking this support is not a sign of weakness, but rather a positive, proactive step that leads to future success!

For more tips on how to be successful during finals season, visit UBC’s Stress Less for Exam Success webpage. You can also stop by the Wellness Centre this week to pick-up an exam care package. Best of luck during finals and enjoy your winter breaks!

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