April 29th, 2016. The day you’ve been waiting for all semester. The final frontier. The last day of final exams.
The only thing standing between you and sweet freedom is a jam-packed month of exam prep, club events, term papers, and stress. The end of the semester can be a bit rough on students, so we’re swooping in to save the day with some tips guaranteed to help you de-stress and sail through to summer!
1. Eat your spinach!
Eating power foods is a great way to keep your body feeling good during marathon study sessions! That includes:
- Whole grains
- Oily fish
- Any and all green veggies!
According to our Beantown neighbor Tufts University, eating plenty of blueberries can decrease short-term memory loss (you know, the kind that makes you forget everything you’ve learned all semester on exam day). So where can you get yourself a box of blueberries and all other sorts of deliciously fresh brain foods? The Northeastern Farmer’s Market of course! Stop by Curry Crossroads on Wednesday afternoons from 10am to 4pm for fresh, Massachusetts-grown goodies. Put good in to get good out!
2. Sleep is worth more than you think
Sleep deprivation can seem like a fact of life at college, but it doesn’t need to be. Most students pull all-nighters before exams because they see the few extra hours of studying as worth more than the same time spent sleeping. Most experts beg to differ; neurologist Russell Foster argues that Americans see sleep as wasted time, when in fact it’s one of the most important things we do every day. It’s also the body’s mechanism for storing memories, which is a pretty important part of exam prep!
3. Take the time to decompress
Break up a stressful study session with activities that give your brain some breathing room. Exercise is a great and very effective way to de-stress as it re-focuses your mind and releases endorphins, a chemical that acts as a natural painkiller in the brain and can in turn improve sleep. There are plenty of group fitness classes hosted at Marino, including zumba, spinning, and yoga! You can check out the schedule and sign up for classes here.
Another great option is meditation. The Hindu Community of Northeastern holds Musical Meditations in the Sacred Space every Tuesdays at 8pm (with free dinner at 9pm!); it’s open to people of all religious backgrounds and with all levels of meditation experience.
4. Use your stress to your own advantage
Stress isn’t fun! It affects our sleep and our appetite and can be a contributing factor to mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.
Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains in her viral TED Talk how stress can be harnessed to be the key to your success. She uses medical research to show exactly how stressful situations affect the body, and how we can alter our physical reaction to make ourselves better prepared to take on challenges:
5. Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Stress and anxiety can be normal reactions to college life, but can ultimately have negative affects on your schoolwork and personal health if they become overwhelming. Long-term stress can also cause more serious medical conditions, or can make a pre-existing mental health issue like anxiety or depression worsen. Northeastern’s University Health and Counseling Services, or UHCS, has an all-star Behavioral Health team consisting of psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, clinical nurse specialists, and a psychiatrist. They are all ready and willing to help at the drop of a hat, and can offer short-term individual therapy, group therapy, medical treatment like prescribing medication, and referrals if you feel you need more long-term care.
If stress is affecting your schoolwork or your personal life, consider making an appointment with a UHCS counselor. Call (617) 373-2772 to set up a time! If you’re feeling overwhelmed but can’t make an appointment or would rather not talk in person, you can chat online with Samaritans Volunteers through IM Hear_ to get help with stress.