Quick Ways to Relieve Stress During Finals
By Christine Chung
UW-Madison student and UHS communications specialist
Midterms are here and finals are coming up. I know what it feels like when just flipping through your agenda for the next 4—5 weeks is stressful. It's that time of the year when I really can't afford to take time to pamper myself and relax, so I've come up with some quick stress-relieving methods that have proven to be effective for me.
How do you react?
- Overexcitement: You become angry and agitated. Calming activities will help the most.
- Under excitement: You shut down and become withdrawn or depressed. Try to find stress-relieving activities that are stimulating.
- Freezing up: In some ways you speed up and in other ways you slow down. Identify activities that help you recharge yourself while stimulating your senses.
- Watch a funny YouTube video and share it with a friend. Laughter and social contact will instantly lift your spirits. Start with this!
- Hug a friend for comfort and to boost your mood. Who doesn't love hugs?
- Go for a short walk outside to freshen up and clear your head.
- Energize yourself by stretching, wiggling your toes or doing some yoga poses.
- Sing along to a song! If you're at a library it'd probably be preferable to listen to uplifting music.
- Focus on your breathing. Here are 3 ways to calm yourself when you’re jittery or tense.
- Play a short game like Tetris to take your mind off of things for a moment. My personal favorite is DrawMe.
- Indulge in a small piece of chocolate or candy. Slowly savoring the taste can help you relax and it's a good excuse for some chocolate.
- Engage your senses by lighting a scented candle. Use soothing scents (lavender, coconut, vanilla, jasmine) or invigorating smells (ginger, rosemary, sandalwood, peppermint) to re-energize.
- Peel your eyes off the screen or book for a moment. If your eyes are tired, the rest of you may feel even more tired and anxious.
Make these things a habit
Take baby steps to managing your stress in healthy ways. Identify stressful situations that you know you’ll encounter and set a goal on how to react to them. Try different techniques, find out what works for you and take note of it.
It took me years to realize that I don't react well to stress. Now I know when to calm myself down or when I need an energy boost to manage my stress.
If you are dealing with stress that leads to bigger problems such as insomnia, fatigue, anxiety or migraines, you can always contact the UHS counseling services from 9 am — 4 pm, Monday — Friday for an Access Consultation.