8 Small Ways to Destress During Finals

As the end of the semester draws near, it’s natural to feel increasingly stressed out. After all, finals week brings with it multiple final projects, papers and exams—all crammed into a relatively short time frame.

Not putting off your studying until the night before is arguably the best way to hold off the worst of finals stress. Beyond that, here are eight small but mighty ways to help you destress this finals season.


  1. Make a list: For some students, visualizing the work they need to complete can be helpful. Try writing out a list of everything you need to get done during finals week—and include deadlines. Once you see everything listed out, the task at hand may feel less daunting.
  2. Listen to your favorite playlist: While some students prefer a quiet work environment, others are more productive when there’s some background music. If you fall into the latter category, reward yourself by queuing up your favorite tunes in a study playlist.
  3. Get some exercise: Building exercise into a routine is difficult enough during the semester, but it becomes even harder as finals week gets underway. To decompress, try a workout class like Zumba or yoga, or go on a run to build in some time outside.
  4. Try meditating: Practicing mindfulness can help relieve some of the tensions of finals week. If you search online, you’ll find a slew of guided mindfulness meditation videos that take just 5 or 10 minutes. There are also a multitude of free apps that provide daily guided meditation sessions.
  5. Watch a TV episode: Finals week may not be the best time to binge watch a new show, but there’s no reason you can’t take a short break to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show. After all, most sitcoms just take around 25 minutes—meaning that watching TV won’t set you way back time-wise.
  6. Take a shower: There’s nothing like hot water to reinvigorate your spirit! If you find yourself becoming increasingly stressed—or you need a productive study break—hop in the shower or take a relaxing bath.
  7. Get eight hours of sleep: Picture this: It’s 1 a.m., and you can choose to either get a decent night’s sleep or spend another hour cramming for your exam. If you’ve been in this situation before, you might be inclined to study, but your brain needs sleep as much as your body does. If you can’t manage a full night’s sleep, don’t be afraid to put your head down for a nap.
  8. Make (or buy) yourself a snack: It’s hard to study on an empty stomach. Destress with a snack break. Healthy (and filling) options include an apple with peanut butter, a cup of yogurt or veggies and hummus.

The best way to decrease your anxiety levels during finals season? Prepare in advance. Even the biggest test feels much less daunting when you know you’ve spent an adequate amount of time prepping for it. While it’s natural to want to procrastinate a little, you’ll feel so much better if resist the urge and start reviewing well in advance.

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