Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Finals Week

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


With the end of the school year fast approaching, many college students struggle to manage the massive amount of stress and anxiety that can accompany finals week. Don’t let your mental health suffer as you race to the finish line of the semester. Here are a few tips to help you prioritize your mental health during finals week.

Set Daily Study Goals

Setting a daily study goal will help you avoid going overboard or procrastinating until the last second. Before you go to bed, look at the important tasks you’ll need to get done the following day and make a study goal that corresponds with your schedule. Make these study goals both specific and attainable; for example, if you have an exam coming up at the end of the week, set a simple goal to study for it for an hour each day.

Create a To-Do List

Healthy time management is difficult when you’re dealing with stress, but it’s essential to help you juggle the demands of finals week. A to-do list is an effective strategy to fit all your daily tasks into your schedule without feeling overwhelmed. Prioritize your list of to-do items so that you can devote an appropriate amount of time to each task. You can organize by due date, or you can move from smaller assignments to more important and time-consuming projects. This method will allow you to focus all your attention on one assignment at a time, giving you the mental energy to turn in higher quality work with less stress.

Get Enough Sleep

Though it’s tempting to shun sleep in favor of extra study time, all-nighters come with a hefty price. Lack of sleep affects both your mental and physical health, as well as your ability to retain, process, and recall information. If you’re unable to concentrate enough to absorb what you’re studying or perform well on the big exam, all your hard work is rendered useless. Try to get at least six hours of uninterrupted sleep and take short 30-to-60-minute naps during the day if you find yourself in need of a boost.

Take Breaks for Things You Enjoy

No time for breaks until all your homework and exams are finished may sound like a rational way to save time, but it’s also an easy way to burn yourself out. Give yourself at least a half-hour each day to do something you enjoy or integrate break intervals into your study time (for example, split each hour into 50 minutes of work and a 10-minute break). These breaks can be as simple as reading a book, making yourself a snack, or scrolling through your phone. Short breaks will give you a chance to recharge and prevent burnout.

Make Time for Exercise

Even if you look forward to exercising about as much as you do to studying (which is to say, not at all), moving your body can be beneficial for your mental state. Studies have found that exercising a few minutes each day helps your brain to produce and release endorphins, which can provide relief from the stress of finals week. If you find yourself getting anxious, depressed, or exhausted from your homework load, take a quick break to get your blood pumping.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

Positive relationships are essential for our mental and emotional well-being. Studying is often a solitary activity, but don’t lock yourself away as you prepare for your exams; take breaks to hang out with friends and family or find a group to study with. If you have questions about the material you’re studying, ask for help from your teachers or peers instead of trying to power through without support.

Remember that you aren’t a studying machine. You’re still human, and your mental health is more important than a grade. Show yourself the same kindness you would extend to your peers! Finals week is a stressful time for everyone, but by implementing these tips you can find a healthy, productive way to succeed in your classes.

If you are struggling with your mental health, reach out. Seeking help is a sign of resilience, not weakness. Contact us  at Serenity Health Centers to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed psychiatrists in your area.

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.