Ways to avoid stress during finals week

Sleep deprivation, long lines at the coffee shop and 24-hour access to the library. It must be finals time; the part of year again when students frantically try to teach themselves an entire semester’s worth of work within one week.

It is inevitable, then, that students are a bit more on edge and stressed out this time of year.

“I don’t know if stress can ever be avoided,” said Carol Grimm, director of Health and Wellness at the MSUM Wellness Center. “Unfortunately, during finals time you can’t distance yourself from writing papers or from studying … but if you can take time away and just be quiet and center yourself, and think about what you need to do, it can help.”

College is a time when everything in life is happening all at once. Many different commitments and obligations are pulling students in countless ways, so much so it can be nearly impossible to know how to handle the stress and get by day-to-day.

“Trying to do everything all of the time. That’s the most common stressor,” Grimm said. “College has larger pockets of stress because there are certain things in college that you have to do. When you graduate from college there is going to be work stress but it won’t all be crunched at one time.”

Stress cannot be avoided; however there are some methods students can use to not become overwhelmed.

“The number one thing is sleep. I really encourage people to get a good night’s sleep. I think with sleep, you can wake up the next day if you get good sleep with new perspective,” Grimm said. “Number two is exercise. I really believe in exercise as a form of stress relief. Whether it’s just getting out and walking or if you have a work out, do it.”

Students often make excuses about not having time to unwind and relax, but really that is just as important as the studying in order to maintain clarity and organization.

“Be social. Hang out with people so you don’t lose connections with them…emotionally what we are concerned about is that someone doesn’t slip into some kind of a depression, you want to be aware of that.”

Stress really can take a toll on a person’s body. Muscular tension, headaches, insomnia, fatigue and more susceptibility to colds and illnesses are all side effects of stress.

The problem with stress is that when a person becomes stressed out, it makes everything worse.

“Don’t stress out about stress,” Grimm said. “Which I think is kind of an interesting concept because people get stressed and they fixate on the stress.”

With summer just around the corner and the weather finally getting nicer, students are itching for summer.

Until then, drink coffee, study, and remember to maintain personal wellness to ensure sanity.


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