Fretting finals? Here’s to less stress

December 12th, 2013

We’ve all been there: it’s the week of finals and we hit our breaking point. We are beyond frustrated and exhausted, and we even do the math to figure out the lowest grade we can get on our final and still pass. It’s important to power through the study-session, but remember to keep things in perspective and prioritize. There are plenty of things you can do to de-stress without even leaving campus.


1. Play with an animal. Anyone with a pet knows how great it is to go home and be reunited with your favorite companion, but did you know that playing with an animal is physiologically good for de-stressing? On, Dr. Cynthia Ackrill said, “Loving pets lowers blood pressure and increases immune responses, counteracting the negative effects of stress.” So whether someone has a dog on campus or therapy dogs in the library or atrium, make sure you stop and pet them.

2. Listen to music. Some people can’t focus on homework without music, but for a quick stress relief, just take a break and listen. Ackrill tells us, “…if you are actively listening you are less focused on the stress.” So just listen to the music or double the stress relief and take a page out of “Grey’s Anatomy’s” book and have a 30 second dance party.

3. Work out. A lot of us hate working out, but it’s beneficial for relieving stress. The Mayo Clinic staff reminds us that “physical activity pumps up our feel good endorphins.” Go to the gym and walk on the treadmill or look up quick yoga exercises on YouTube that you can do in your room. Afterwards, you’ll be in a better mood and more energized to power through the last two pages of that final paper.

4. Coloring. As childish as it may sound, coloring is great therapy; so good in fact that it’s easy to find adult coloring pages online. When we color we are totally focused on the activity and tend to be at peace, just as we were as kids laying on our bedroom floors doing the same thing. For those of us with printing money left, there are tons of free coloring pages online. For the unlucky few who are conserving those last few dollars for their final paper, when you stop at Target for study snacks or K-Cups, swing by the craft aisle and you can pick up a coloring book and crayons for less than $10.

5. Laugh. We’ve all heard it, “laughter is the best medicine.” It’s true – most of us are never more relaxed and happy than when we’re with our friends, tears in our eyes, laughing hysterically. According to, “When you laugh, it not only lightens your mental load, but also causes positive physical changes in your body. Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response.” So when you hit your breaking point, pop in a comedy, hang out with your friends or just turn on Netflix. If you’re really short on time, a half-hour sitcom can be enough to get you laughing and lighten your mood (“How I Met Your Mother,” anyone?).