Mental and Physical Health During Finals

For law students and undergrad students everywhere, finals week(s) is pretty much the most stressful time of the year. I don't deal too well with stress anyway, but I was not prepared for the mental stress that comes along with 2-3 weeks of finals. Because it is the most stressful time of the year, it is even more important to keep your mental AND physical health in good shape during finals. Here are some tips on keep both in check during final week(s):

Physical Health

Sleep- So many people I know pull all nighters or sleep less during finals. This isn't good! Your body and brain needs sleep to process information, as well as to perform your best while studying and on finals. If you are tired, go to bed, and wake up a little earlier to study if needed. Also, if you really need to nap, do it. Take care of yourself during these weeks.

Eat Well- It is such a huge temptation to order out because it's quicker and easier or to skip eating because you don't have time/aren't hungry. But please eat!! And eat healthy food- keep getting veggies, fruits, and protein. To make sure I eat healthy during finals, I pack my lunch and healthy snacks, including protein bars, lots of fruit, and low-fat string cheese.

Drink Water- I'm sure most of you know of my Diet Coke obsession by now. I am not the only student who seems to have caffeine running through my veins during finals. Just remember that your body is about 80% water- and this includes your brain! To work well and think smart, you have to have plenty of water in your body. Try to get as much water, or even more, than other liquids during finals.

Exercise- Working out everyday or as much as you did before finals is very difficult during finals. However, it is still good to get moving, as it keeps you in shape and allows a nice break from studying. If taking an hour out of your study day is too much, at least try to get up and get a quick walk in or do some stretching before bed.

Fight Sickness- Weakened immune systems mean that it is much easier to get sick during finals week. If you are susceptible to falling ill during stressful times, take vitamin C to boost your immune system and fight any sickness that might be coming on. If you feel like you are getting sick, sleep extra, take medicine, and do what you can to not get sicker. Nothing is worse than having the flu when you are trying to study or take a final. I always keep a bag of vitamin C, Advil, NyQuil, and DayQuil in my medicine cabinet for when I start to get sick. If you do get sick and think it may be something worse than just a cold or flu, get into a doctor or urgent care so they can diagnose you and give you medicine (like antibiotics) if appropriate.

Mental Health
This just as important, if not more important, as your physical health during finals week.

Sleep- Sleep also provides a mental break for your mind. If you are having a bad day, it's okay to call it a day and go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day, and sleeping will give you a fresh perspective.

Take a Break- It's okay to take breaks between studying. It's hard to focus on studying all day, so go ahead and take a break: go for a run, watch some Netflix, get coffee with a friend, or do whatever you need to do to de-stress and take a mental break from finals.

Do what's right for you- Some people have to study in the library, others want to avoid it at all costs. You know yourself better than your friends and classmates, so if you can't study in the library, and they want to, it's ok to take a pass. Do what is right for you, and others will understand- it's finals week, and we are all just trying to survive.

Don't talk to others about the exam AFTER the exam- This is so important, especially for law students. People are going to ask "Oh did you get that one issue about the dog?." Don't fall into this trap, as it will only cause you to worry and think about what you might have missed rather than what you got right.

Once it's over, put the exam out of your head- I know that this is difficult, but try to not think about the exam once you finish it. There is nothing you can do about it now, and dwelling on whether or not that was the right answer or you found all of the issues is only going to drive you crazy. After your exam, take a nap or relax and move onto the next one.

What are some of your tips to survive finals, both physically and mentally? Leave them in the comments, and with that: Good luck to everyone as we prepare for and take finals! I have full faith in you to make it through these next few weeks.


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