Let's Talk About Managing Stress During Finals
It’s that time of year again, finals week. For some students finals and other course work leads to stress and procrastination magnifies the problem. So, let’s talk about tips to stay current with class work and manage stress before it becomes overwhelming.
It’s important to know that not all stress is bad. People experience a mix of positive and negative stress throughout their daily lives and from a variety of sources. Stress, at healthy levels, helps motivate us to reach goals and get things accomplished.
Sometimes people need help to get their stress levels into a healthy zone. Too little stress may lead to boredom. Low to moderate amounts of stress are necessary for healthy growth in people. Too much stress over an extended period of time can result in physical and mental health problems.
One of the first things to do is to become aware of your current stress levels. Part of managing stress is to continue repeating behavior that works, and to take a look at behavior that is not constructive. Are you someone that can start studying a week before a test, two days before a test, or do you need two weeks of preparation? Each of these can work, but it is important to see which strategy fits you best and how to improve on it.
What about those times when you become overwhelmed? One of the best things to do is deep breathing. Take one to two minutes to yourself, close your eyes, inhale deeply using your diaphragm, hold the breath at the top, and slowly exhale until all the air is out. Continue this process for a few minutes to slow your autonomic nervous system, which reduces your physical response to stress and allows you to think more clearly and to problem solve effectively.
Other tips to help manage stress and maintain well-being include:
- Exercising daily at least 30 minutes
- Sleeping 7-8 hours
- Eating a balanced diet with lots of veggies and fruits
- Limiting other stressors such as drugs, alcohol, and caffeine
- Spending time with a community of supportive friends.
If you're feeling overwhelmed or in distress, the following resources are available to students:
- Student Health Center
- Forest Grove Clinic
- Hillsboro Clinic
- Campus Public Safety
- Crisis Textline
Text GO to 741741
- Washington County Crisis Line
- Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline