Steps To Maintaining Your Mental Health During Finals Week


Steven S.

Studying for Math

Naomi Penner, Reporter

Finals week is approaching. With many teachers racking up homework and class load in order to fully prepare students for the end of trimester and the looming tests that are typically worth 15 percent of a class grade, this week can be very stressful. It can be easy to find yourself overworked and burnt out. When you feel like you are hanging on by a thread and want to avoid having more than the average amount breakdowns while studying, here 8 tips for maintaining your mental health during finals week.

  1. Create a schedule: Having a schedule helps you pace yourself and avoid burnout. It isn’t reasonable to cram everything you learned into one all-night study session nor is it reasonable to skip studying all together. It is important to find balance between the two by spacing out study sessions over longer periods of time. For example, make a list of all the things you need to do for each class, when they need to be completed, and how long it’ll take to complete them. After doing this section assignments into different days try not to exceed over 5 hours of studying per day. It is also vital to schedule in time to relax and sleep.
  2. Break tasks into smaller steps: Another important step in creating a schedule is breaking big projects and tests into to smaller pieces. Say your final is on chapters 1-10 in your textbook, write down each chapter as a different task you want to complete this way it’ll feel a lot less overwhelming when it comes time to start studying. The same thing goes with a large project, if you are making a slides presentation break it down the slides into individual tasks or if you are writing an essay write down as paragraph as a separate step. Doing so will help you reach your goals and feel more confident as you check each task off your list.
  3. Get organized: Having a clean and organized study space can help you feel more calm and focused. Set up a space, whether it be a desk or table, where you have all your necessary study supplies laid out. Grab all your textbooks, notebooks, stationary and place it next to you so you don’t have to disrupt your study session to grab a missing item. Include other items that help you feel calm whether that be your favorite scented candle, a coffee drink, or soft lighting. Avoid studying on your bed or a space shared with your family as it can lead to distractions. If you can’t find a quiet place to study inside your home, consider studying at a library or coffee shop.
  4. Take breaks: I can’t emphasize this enough, taking breaks is essential to having a productive study session. Your brain is not meant to focus for hours on end and avoiding breaks will in the long run will lead to forgetfulness and brain fog. Set timer and do something that you enjoy for ten minutes. You read a book, grab a snack, play with your pet, take a walk and get some fresh air. I would however not recommend using your phone on these breaks because it does not allow your brain to fully recharge.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep: It may seem counterintuitive to prioritize sleep during a busy week but it is actually one of the most helpful tools. You may be tempted to pull an all-nighter for an exam in the morning, but sleep deprivation can actually worsen stress and trigger symptoms of mental health. It is recommended the teenagers get about 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If you do this, you will start to notice that it is easier to wake up in the morning, to focus while studying, and to retain information
  6. Don’t isolate: Socializing is one of the best things you can do during finals week. Depending on your friends schedules this could be anything from studying together in a library, getting a quick bite to eat at a restaurant, or going on a walk to talk. You don’t have to go through this week alone, if you talk to friends you may realize you are all feeling the same thing and gain someone who you can relate to. This will also give you a chance to check in on your friends and make sure they are doing ok.
  7. Look at the big picture: Your mental health is more important than your grades. Finals are just another test, and in most classes they represent a fraction of your course grade. Remember your grades are not a reflection of your self-worth. School does not determine the rest of your life. Things may be hard right now, but you’re able to get through it. This stress is temporary. Take pride in your accomplishments and work hard, but remember to take of yourself. No one sprints through marathons without taking any breaks. Take pit stops to nourish your mind, body, and soul.
  8. Get active: Engage in daily movement. I am not saying you need to run a marathon or even go to the gym. Just do something that gets your blood pumping and releases endorphins (hormones that promote a positive mood, increase focus, and reduces study fatigue), you could even turn on some music and have a dance break. Do something that pulls you away from your work, screens, and stress and get your mind focused on doing something that makes your body feel better.