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Stress less and improve your mental health during finals week

It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year. Just a few more weeks and you can enjoy freedom during winter break without all your responsibilities. But first you must get through finals week. With projects wrapping up and finals quickly approaching, you are likely experiencing some stress. Here are tips from an experienced finals-taker on how to manage your mental health and prevent burnout. 

Try different studying techniques

If you find yourself in a slump with your current studying method or you can’t find the motivation to get started, consider trying one of these new techniques to boost your productivity: 

The Pomodoro technique is an effective way of studying and works by diving your work into regular and short increments with breaks in between them. You study for 25 minutes and take a five-minute break four times, then take a 30-minute break and, finally, repeat the cycle. It is an effective and well-known technique and is especially helpful if you have a short attention span or procrastinate.  

The Animedoro (yes, anime) technique is another studying method that works similarly to Pomodoro. Instead of small five-minute breaks, you work for 40-60 minutes and then reward yourself with a 20-minute break that can be used to watch an episode of your favorite anime or other show. If you choose this method, be sure you have enough self-control to stop after one episode to continue studying! 

Go outside and get some sunlight

We’re lucky to be living in California where the sun is available to us all year round. Take advantage of this luxury and take a break from studying to go for a walk or watch the sunset. According to Stanford Professor of Neurobiology Andrew Huberman, “Exposure to sunlight can have a powerful effect on our health, improve mood and contribute to an overall sense of well-being.” 

If you notice you’re stressing more than usual, get some sunlight. Listen to a podcast or your top artist of the year while you take a stroll around Pacific’s beautiful campus. Just make sure you step outside before 5 p.m. —early sunsets are upon us! 

Spend time with your friends and yourself

As important as your studying seems, your relationships with your friends, family and self are more important. If you feel drained, take a break and recharge with friends or yourself.  

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? If you’re an extrovert, or someone who “recharges” by being around other people, then take study breaks to get coffee or dinner from a restaurant on Miracle Mile with your friends.  

If being around others sounds exhausting, take some time for yourself. Some of my favorite ways to regain energy as an introvert include reading a book, walking around campus with my headphones in or watching a Rom-Com from the comfort of my own bed. Your mental health will thank you for this one, and you’ll have newfound energy to continue being an academic weapon.  

Health is wealth

If your cycle is eat, sleep, study, repeat, make sure that you are prioritizing and doing the first two steps. If you find it difficult to squeeze in full meals between studying, bring a protein bar or nutritional shake to hold you over. While preparing for a long study session, pack a variety of snacks and liquids to keep you properly fueled throughout. 

Determine how many hours of sleep you need to perform and retain information at your best. According to The Sleep Foundation, most college-aged students need seven to nine hours of sleep. If you find yourself feeling sluggish or tired during the day, take a quick 20-minute power nap to reenergize.  

You’re almost at the end. Keep working hard, and good luck studying. You got this! 

Bonus tip: Check out Pacific’s Destress Fest!

Take a break from your studies on Thursday night and check out Pacific’s Destress Fest from 6-9 p.m. at the DeRosa University Center. Play video games, paint mugs, drink hot chocolate and more. Don’t forget to enter the raffle to win prizes like Beats headphones or a new TV! 

Stick around after Destress Fest for Late-Night Breakfast from 10 p.m. to midnight for pancakes, eggs and great company! The event is free to all Pacific students, so fuel up before heading back to your studying 🙂 

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