Just as you get comfortable with your fall semester, it’s time to start preparing for final exams and the holidays. But it’s not just end-of-semester challenges you’re facing. It’s many things, all at once. Like new friendships and relationships. Adjusting to new living environments. Deciding what’s next, regarding classes, careers, and life.
The stresses can add up. But as you gear up for the weeks ahead, remember that there are different kinds of stress. And people respond to stress in different ways. For example, good stress can help inspire us to make positive changes and prepare for what’s ahead.
However, too much stress or prolonged stress can negatively impact our behaviors, bodies, and brains. Over time, severe or chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
As you prepare for the weeks ahead, try to harness your stress in a positive way. And to minimize its negative impact, consider the following tips:
Take care of your physical health.
Yes, you’re busier now than ever. While it’s tempting to pull all-nighters, abuse caffeine, and skip exercise and healthy meals, these behaviors can negatively impact your mental and emotional health. To set yourself up for success, follow a basic routine that includes time for healthy eating, sleeping, and regular physical activity. These basics can help sustain you in the weeks ahead—and in managing your long-term challenges.
Keep things in perspective, especially your grades.
While it’s important to do well, try to avoid becoming so focused on grades that it interferes with your physical or emotional health. Students cope better when they can look beyond their immediate GPA and view the larger world around them. Short breaks where you can engage in social or leisure activities can help you remain balanced.
Manage your time.
Use the weeks ahead to get organized and prepared for the priorities ahead. Write out a to-do list and break down large projects into small manageable steps. Study frequently and in small doses, so you can retain information and avoid cramming. Before an exam, try to squeeze in some quiet time to clear your mind.
Reach out for support.
If your stress seems unmanageable, reaching out to friends, parents, and even teachers can be very effective. If you’d like additional help, please reach out to your Assistance Program for confidential support and resources.
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