5 quick ways to relax during finals week


Jeremy Hu

Mechanical Engineering students Colton Rainey (right), Elizabeth Jiménez, and Ben Jones (left) work on a project together in the Illini Union’s Courtyard Café.

By Alyssa Pappas, Staff Writer

With finals week approaching, many students face a variety of obstacles including feeling a vast amount of stress and anxiety.

“Taking care of you will reduce stress, help you remain calm, keep things in perspective and help you excel” said Jennifer Carson, stress management educator and wellness promotion specialist at McKinley Health Center in an email.  

There are many different ways in which students can help manage their stress. Here are just a few:

1. Listen to music

Listening to music while studying has many different benefits.

According to the American Psychological Association, “in a meta-analysis of 400 studies, Levitin and his postgraduate research fellow, Mona Lisa Chanda, PhD, found that music improves the body’s immune system function and reduces stress.”

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It was also said how listening to certain types of music, such as classical music, has the potential to also increase one’s focus.

2. Take “brain breaks”

“Take brief study breaks to refresh your mind and body. Be wise about how you spend a study break of five-10 minutes,”  Carson said.

Activities that a student can do during one of these brain breaks includes standing up and stretching or simply moving to another spot, according to  the George Lucas Educational Foundation website.

3. Take advantage of University events

“The UGL will be hosting a destress event on (Dec. 14), and on Friday, Dec. 15, there will be an end-of-semester stress care workshop,” said John Lyons, an Illini Union event service worker.

At the destress event, “We’ll have craft activities such as button making, origami and coloring (…) and of course there will be therapy dogs,” said Susan Avery, instructional services librarian at the Undergraduate Library, in an email.

4. Use one of the relaxation techniques offered on McKinley’s website

McKinley Health Center offers a variety of resources, one of which includes exercises to help stress management.

“Listen(ing) to McKinley’s Relaxation Exercises help you stay calm and focused,” Carson said.

5. Schedule study time

“Prioritize how your time needs to be spent so you can avoid pulling all-nighters. Get plenty of rest so your mind and body are rested to help you keep focused and retain what you need to know,” Carson said.

Having high levels of anxiety and stress can even have an effect on test scores. So, for students to make sure they are ready for their next big final, managing their stress effectively is just one of the ways to help them prepare.

“It is key to find out what works for you and fits into your needs and interests,  so you are more likely to be consistent with those techniques and tools,” Carson said.

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