Flashback Friday: How to be social without drinking

This blog post was originally published on September 24, 2015.

Feel like social life revolves around drinking?

Have-to-study-834

Here are 10 alcohol-free ways to have fun in the Triangle.
(TIP: Always ask about a student discount!)

  1.  Host or attend a game night FREE
  2. Join an intramural sports team FREE
  3. Group outing to the theatre! FREE-$$$
  4. Go ice skating or bowling $$
     
  5. Join a student organization FREE
  6. Check out a local farmer’s market over the weekend FREE
  7. Attend local community events FREE-$$$
  8. Check out student group performances (search category: performance) FREE-$
  9. Learn a new dance/go out dancing (all types of dancing) FREE-$
  10. Watch an outdoor movie or a CUAB movie (seasonal) FREE-$
“Movies Under the Stars” in Downtown Chapel HIll

Or, maybe you want to go to parties and just not drink!

Have you ever been out trying to have some alcohol-free fun, and people won’t stop  bugging you? Here are some ideas of things to say, but they are dependent on your personality type, individual needs, or safety/comfort concerns!

  1. “I’m not drinking tonight, but thank you!”
  2. “I’m good for now, I just had one.”
  3. “I’m taking it easy tonight.”
  4. “I have to wake up early tomorrow/study, etc.”
  5. “I’m driving home tonight.”
  6. “I’m the designated driver tonight.”
  7. “I’m just trying to be a bit healthier right now.”

Not a talker? No worries! There are other ways to ward off peer pressure, again – dependent on your personality type, individual needs, or safety/comfort concerns. For example, some people have suggested holding a drink in their hand and not actually drinking, drinking alcohol-free drinks (like a rum and coke….minus the rum), or attending a party as a sober attendee and playing the games either with water or an alcohol-free drink!

Why Therapy Is Not For Me (but actually might be)

1. I want to get through it on my own.

We live in a society that places a lot of value on independence, but in truth, we are interdependent. Each of us does need other people to some degree. Participating in therapy is not a passive process. You are not “attending therapy”, or “getting therapy”.  Therapists are not administering something to you. Therapy is an active, collaborative process of figuring out life. Therapists do have some specialized knowledge about mental health, but we act as guides, not fixers. In fact, but of the unique aspects of therapy is that therapists act as guides, not as fixers.

2. If my friends and family can’t help me, how will someone I don’t even know help me?

Friends and family play extremely vital roles in our lives, and there is no substitute for those types of relationships. Often the people in our life have a vested interest in what we choose to do or in what direction we move. The role of a therapist is very different. When you go to therapy, the first task is for the therapist to be able to understand your hopes and goals, because your agenda is our agenda. Sometimes family and friends have the tendency to try to make things better for you. Therapists are trained to help you find the tools to make things better for yourself.

3. It’s not that bad. I’m not crazy. Therapy is a last resort for me.

People participate in therapy for a wide variety of reasons.

Sometimes things in their lives are pretty bad when they initiate therapy.

Sometimes they start treatment because they aren’t feeling fulfilled, or because something in life feels “off”. They want to not simply get through each day, but instead want to thrive. Sometimes students come to therapy because they are aware that academic stress is unavoidable and they want to learn strategies to manage it before it starts to create problems. At UNC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), we work with people throughout the whole spectrum, between preventing problems before they start and treating issues before they begin.

Mental Health is similar to physical health in that it is often a quicker, easier process if you take a proactive approach. I often hear from students who have recurrent depression that the first episode was the worst, in part because they didn’t know to take action until things felt completely unmanageable.

Stigma is real. Often times we are socialized to have some negative feelings towards individuals with mental health disorders and towards seeking mental health treatment. Where have you heard some of those messages? What do you believe? How might you overcome the stigma associated with seeking services?

4. Therapy is too _____________________ (Expensive, Time Consuming)

There is no arguing with that. Participating in therapy definitely takes time (typically 45-60 minutes weekly). It also may require a financial investment. Although CAPS brief therapy services are free, there are times when students may start off with or transition to a community provider, where there will likely be a copay.

Often when I meet with students, their symptoms are impacting their ability to be as successful as they could be academically. Their friendships or relationships with loved ones may be impacted. Anxiety, for example, could make it extremely difficult for a person to concentrate and learn new material, and to seek frequent reassurance from friends, or to avoid social situations altogether.  Also, some of the symptoms they are experiencing are painful. They are in real distress. Can you relate to this? How are the issues you are having impacting your quality of life?

If one part of the equation is the cost/time/effort, please remember to include the other side of the equation- the impact the symptoms are having on your well-being.

In Conclusion

Therapy is not for everyone. But therapy is helpful for some people, and it just may be that it could be helpful to you. But don’t take my word for it! See if therapy can help you. The best way to get something out of therapy:

  • Come in with some goals in mind.
  • Ask your therapist questions.
  • If you don’t feel as if the first person you see is a good fit, work with someone else.
  • Monitor your symptoms and your progress toward your goals, and work with your therapist to get the most out of your time together.
  • Be open with your therapist about any concerns you have about the therapy process.

If you would like to initiate therapy or simply talk with a clinician more about your options for mental health services, please walk in to CAPS between the hours of 9*-12 and 1-4 M-F (8-5 if you have urgent concerns). *Friday morning initial appointments begin at 9:30 a.m. 

 

Originally posted August 6, 2013. Revised and updated 2016. 

Club Sports and Intramurals: A great way to get some exercise and become involved!

This blog post was originally published on December 9, 2014.

With the end of the semester come finals, and often, lots of stress. But the good news is at the end of the week you are done (congratulations)! Whether you finish strong or limp across the finish line, the semester is over and you cannot change the past. What you can do is enjoy your time off, get some rest, and look to the future and a fresh start in January. And if I may, I would like to make a recommendation for the spring semester: do something new and something that will help you with all that stress that school can bring. Become part of some sort of extracurricular physical activity, preferably one that gets your heart rate up.

Photo: Going up for the frisbee in the fog by Nathan Rupert, Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo: Going up for the frisbee in the fog by Nathan Rupert, Flickr Creative Commons.

Now before you say, “I don’t have time for exercise,” or “but I don’t like to exercise,” stop. One, you do have time for a little exercise, but often you will not do it unless you set aside a time for it. If you continually say, “I will exercise when I have free time,” you will always find something else you could be doing. Additionally, if you have hours and hours each month to check Facebook, tweet, Instagram, watch movies, online shop, play video games, or any other things that your normal day entails, then you likely have time for some exercise. Second, exercise will help all the other parts of your life as well. So many studies show that exercise not only improved physical health, but mental health as well including stress and depression. And if you don’t like to exercise, fear not! There are many options for exercising that don’t feel like a chore, including many club sports and intramural activities.

For me, physical activity means getting into the Carolina North Forest for runs, and joining road bike group rides in Chapel Hill. In addition to this, last year I joined the UNC Cycling Team, which includes a wide variety of individuals who have all different ability levels and who enjoy all different types of biking. Maybe this is something you would like to try, but if not, there are so many opportunities to participate in club sports, and intramural activities here at UNC. These include: basketball, soccer, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, football, rugby, and so many more. These are great opportunities to meet people, create social networks, and get exercise at the same time. These also can be really helpful for motivation on those days when you would rather just curl up in bed, but you know that getting some exercise would be good for you and you would enjoy doing it once you got out there. Not everyone is self-motivated, however, how or why you get out there is not the important thing, but rather that you get out there.

Olympian Tours Colorado Trip (by Jed Hinkley)
Olympian Tours Colorado Trip (by Jed Hinkley)

So, if you’ve wanted to become involved with some sort of sport or activity, there’s no time like the present. This is the perfect time and there are so many options to choose from. After all, college is about trying new things and meeting new people. It is also about becoming immersed in the culture and involved with the school. What better way to do that then with a bunch of other students, faculty, and staff that like doing the same things that you do. Your heart, your head, and your grades will be better for it.

“What Happens If I Skip Breakfast?”

Image courtesy of vaguehauntingmassappear.tumblr.com
Image courtesy of vaguehauntingmassappear.tumblr.com

 

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation understood it (possibly just for its deliciousness)!  But how many of us actually eat it on a daily basis? And unfortunately, that cup of coffee doesn’t really count as breakfast.

A 2005 study found that 35% of college students do not eat any kind of meal in the morning. This is a bit more common with men than women.

Many students skip this  meal due to lack of time or because it has become a habit to rush to class on an empty stomach.

“I know it’s probably not a good idea, but I’ve gotten used to it,” explains a second-year UNC student. “I usually study late and I would rather sleep an extra 20 minutes than wake up to make breakfast.”

While college students may lack time, it is still very important to eat in the morning. What kind of impact does this have if you decide to skip breakfast?

  1. Your grades will take a hit! Your brain needs food to function, specifically glucose. Things like toast, cereal, and fruit are good sources of this. A number of studies found a link between academic performance and breakfast. Those that ate breakfast scored noticeably higher on tests than those that did not eat breakfast. Other studies have found that when you’re hungry, you tend to be more forgetful. If you want those A’s, you should start with breakfast.
  1. You’ll be cranky. When your body is running on empty, your blood sugar drops and your cortisol (the stress hormone) levels spike. Your mood will suffer, and it’ll make it hard to sit through an entire lecture. Being hangry is a real thing!
  1. Your metabolism slows down. Breakfast helps to rev up your metabolism. Without food in your system, especially at the beginning of your day, your body goes into protection mode and works to conserve calories, rather than burning it. In prolonged cases, it causes wasting of your muscles.
  1. You’ll be more at risk for certain diseases. A number of studies found links between missing breakfast and increased risk of weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes. Yes, skipping breakfast can cause weight gain.

 An ideal breakfast is balanced. The Clinical Nutrition Specialist at Campus Health, Antonia Hartley, often recommends using the MyPlate for just that reason.

 Image courtesy of ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Image courtesy of ChooseMyPlate.gov

“I tell my clients to choose a starch (like toast, a tortilla, or granola), choose a protein (like peanut butter, eggs, or yogurt), and choose a fruit or veggie (like a banana, spinach or berries),” Hartley advises. “Putting together any three of these takes two minutes tops, especially since you can scramble an egg in the microwave.”

If you’re short on time in the morning, there many other quick breakfast recipes. There’s really no excuse to skip breakfast in the morning.

 

Justin Chu is the Information and Communication Program Assistant at UNC Student Wellness and a Master of Public Health graduate student with a focus in Health Behavior at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He previously worked as a nutritionist in the clinical, community, and commercial settings after earning his bachelor’s in Clinical Nutrition at the University of California at Davis.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Got an Interview? Check Out These Tips!

"Career Fair at College of DuPage 2014" by COD Newsroom, Flickr Creative Commons
“Career Fair at College of DuPage 2014” by COD Newsroom, Flickr Creative Commons

With spring in the air and summer getting closer (it’ll be here soon – I promise!), you may be wondering, “What am I going to dooo this summer?” For those of us graduating in May (congrats!!), the somewhat daunting search for a job may already be on your mind. And for those of us who still have some time left here at Carolina, maybe you’re thinking about finding a summer job or considering doing an internship once classes end. If jobs or internships are part of your summer plan, this probably means that you’ll have to do some interviews! If just reading that sentence made you a little nervous, this blog post is for you. Interviews can definitely be a little nerve-wracking, but they can also be a great learning experience! Here are some tips that will help you tackle your interviews with confidence and hopefully will help you land that job or internship you’ve got your eye on!

"Interview! White Background" by One Way Stock, Flickr Creative Commons
“Interview! White Background” by One Way Stock, Flickr Creative Commons
  1. Do you research. Wherever you’re interviewing, read up on the organization/company. Go to their website – look at their mission and vision, look at the different services they provide – try to find out as much as you possibly can about the organization and what your job or internship might entail.
  1. Come up with two or three questions you can ask your interviewer. There is usually time at the end of an interview for you to ask questions – this is a time to show the interviewer how well prepared you are! Do you have questions about specific duties of the job or internship? Ask! Do you have questions about the office environment? Ask! Interviews are also a time for you to find out if the job/internship will be a good fit for your needs and skills, so take this time to figure that out.
  1. Before your interview, make a list of questions you think the interviewer might ask you. Try to anticipate what you think they want to know about you, and try to think from their perspective. Is there a past internship you think they might have more questions about? Are there skills they are looking for that you can highlight in your responses to their questions? Once you have your list, practice your answers to these questions! Write your answers down, practice your answers with a friend, or practice your answers in the mirror! This will help you feel confident and ready for anything the interviewers might throw your way.
  1. During the interview (and when you’re practicing your answers to potential questions), try to think of concrete examples of things you have done or learned in past jobs or coursework to strengthen your answers. Be as specific as possible! For example, when asked about your strengths, rather than saying you’re a good public speaker, talk about your strong public speaking skills and give examples of times when you have given presentations or facilitated group discussions.
  1. Be aware of your body language. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact with the interviewer while you’re talking, and try not to slouch back in your chair. This will show the interviewer you are engaged in the conversation.
  1. Be honest, and be yourself. You’re awesome and qualified – let that show!
  1. Be sure to take advantage of campus resources when you’re prepping for your interview. UNC’s University Career Services has some amazing resources to help you prep for interviews on their website, and they also host a TON of great workshops that will help you with your job search. And guess what?!?! They are hosting an Interview Tips and Strategies workshop on February 12th from 3:30-5:00pm in Hanes Hall, room 239B – be sure to check it out!
  1. One final tip to keep in mind when interviewing is to be sure to thank your interviewers. This can be done in many ways, but one suggestion is to send each person you interviewed with a personalized email (or hand-written thank you card if that’s your style!) thanking them for taking time to interview you, and reiterate your enthusiasm about the internship/job and why you think you’d be a good fit.

Good luck in your search for that perfect job or internship! And for those of you graduating, be sure to check out one of our blog posts from last semester about for some additional tips. Do you have any additional interviewing tips you’d like to share? Feel free to comment!

How Being YOU Can Reduce Stress

I always joke with my coworkers that they have to watch what they say around me because I believe everything that I hear.  And, although I think it is important to draw on other people’s experiences to shape your own success, at the end of the day you are the only person who knows what is best for you.  As a follow up to last week’s stress-free blog, I’d like to leave you with four more tips focused on how being YOU can lead to a productive and carefree school year. Continue reading

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: 3 Ways to be a Better Student

We consistently hear from students that academics are their biggest stressor, which makes sense.  I mean, that’s why you’re here—to get a world-class education, right?  And that means learning to study smart, which may be simpler than you realize.  One of my high school teachers, Ms. Dawson, had only 3 rules in her class, but they really summed up how to get the most academic bang for your buck, no matter what the subject:

Show up.

According to Woody Allen “90% of life is just showing up”, and this idea definitely applies to school.  You are much more likely to get something out of your classes if you go to them.  Even if you don’t take any notes or listen to the lecture, at the very least you may absorb some important random detail that ends up on the final or catch that announcement about a paper extension or extra credit opportunity.  The secret to good grades is not just knowing the material; it’s knowing your professor.  Professors are people just like us and the tests they write reflect their own knowledge and teaching style.  And the best way to get to know your professor?  That’s right—class.

Think.

Now I know I sound like Captain Obvious when I say this, but school requires thinking.  And thinking is hard.  Thinking means processing and applying information, not just memorizing and regurgitating.  So, you have shown up to class—great start!  Rather than feverishly typing out the professor’s every last syllable, take a few moments to think about what you are hearing.  Ask yourself questions like: How would I apply this in a real world context? What are the implications of this? Or If I were to write a test on this information, what questions would I ask?

Being able to ask and answer questions like these will put you way ahead of the game when it comes to studying for a big exam.

Look at your book.

Ok, so the days of having to lug textbooks around and review them during class are over.  But the sentiment behind this rule still applies today.  Now you’ve come to class and you are thinking—awesome!  The next step is focusing on what is going on IN class and tuning out everything else.  Ever been in that lecture class where all the laptop screens in front of you are flickering between Facebook, gchat, and Sakai?  If the professor hasn’t changed the powerpoint slide in 20 seconds, do you start fumbling for your phone or google searching articles for that poli sci paper due tomorrow?  Multi-tasking may seem like the way to get everything done, but recent research suggests that chronic multi-taskers may be LESS productive.[Multitasking May Not Mean Higher Productivity http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112334449]  Those that stay focused and tuned in during class are more likely to retain the information longer.  I mean, you have to be in class anyway, why not get the most out of it—turn off the phone, close those tabs, and keep looking at the powerpoint slide even though you’ve already read over it twice.  Think of it this way: the more you can focus during class, the less time you will spend studying out of class.  That means fewer late night cram sessions and more time for FUN!

Now you know Ms. Dawson’s 3 rules for success—Show up, think, and look at your book.  Simple, right?  The hardest of course is consistently applying these rules, and sometimes these 3 things won’t be enough to ensure success in all classes.  Luckily, UNC has a multitude of resources to help you find ways to study smart:

 

Here’s a great place to start if you are struggling academically and not sure what you need:

http://www.studentsuccess.unc.edu/

 

For help with studying or free tutoring, visit the Learning Center:

http://learningcenter.unc.edu//

 

For help with writing a paper or application essay, visit the Writing Center:

http://writingcenter.unc.edu/

 

If you think you might have a learning disability or ADHD:

http://www.unc.edu/depts/lds/

 

And, if you need to talk to someone about managing your stress or personal issues, we are here for you. Come to Counseling and Psychological Services between 9am and noon or 1pm and 4pm to see a counselor without making an appointment.

http://caps.unc.edu

 


 Updated September 25, 2015 to reflect accurate contact information for Counseling and Psychological Services. Previous version included the former name of the service and a link that did not go to the CAPS page directly. 

News Roundup: what’s more important – exercise or sleep?

This blog post was written by Emily Wheeler and is published as part of our blog exchange with Tar Heel Tone-Up

alarm-clock

Today we are tackling an important – and probably relevant – question raised by some of our readers. We have 24 hours in a day, but for those of use who want to pack in as much as possible, it may not be possible to do it all. In some situations, we have to forgo study time, sleep hours, or a night out with friends to make it all work.

If it comes down to it– what’s more crucial: an hour of exercise, or an extra hour of sleep?

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/ask-well-sleep-or-exercise/

The New York Times polled two physicians and learned that sleep and exercise share a “bi-directional relationship.” They write that exercise can actually lead to deeper, more restorative sleep. But they warn that sleeping for less than seven hours is a risky path to go down, possibly resulting in next-day drowsiness and lower motivation.

http://www.shape.com/celebrities/star-trainers/ask-celebrity-trainer-should-you-skip-sleep-fit-workout

A Shape.com article emphasized the absolute necessity of getting enough sleep at night, particularly if your goal is to maintain a healthy weight. The trainer featured in the article said that her opinion is that sleep is more important the exercise.

http://greatist.com/fitness/dear-greatist-which-more-important-sleep-or-exercise

Greatist.com makes a key point that not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. Not to mention – if you exercise more during a given day, your body might need more sleep time to repair and recover. They write that a key factor in workouts is their duration, and to aim for anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour, depending on your personal goals.

Sleep well and be active, my friends 🙂

image from theeffect.net

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: 10 Day Challenge – It’s Time to UNPLUG!

This blog post was originally published on November 22, 2013 and was written by Jani Radhakrishnan.

A 2013 Mobile Consumer Habit survey reported that 72% of U.S. adults that own smartphones keep it within five feet of them the majority of the time. [Mine is currently about 8 inches away from my computer!] That same study reported that out of 1102 respondents, 55% USED their smartphone while driving, 33% while on a date, 12% in the shower, and 20% of adults ages 18-34….during sex. O2 released a study that indicated that the ‘phone’ function on a smartphone is the fifth most frequently used function. In fact, the study reports that smartphones now replace alarm clocks, cameras, televisions, and physical books.

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/hires/thenumberofm.jpg
Image from cdn.physorg.com

Have you seen this creative video representing our addiction to phones?

Or read this news article about a San Francisco train shooting where “passengers were too distracted by phones to notice the shooter’s gun in plain sight”? With all this new ‘connectivity,’ we are not actually connecting to the world and the people around us. In fact, surveys indicate that 13% of cell phone owners pretend to use their phone to avoid interacting with people around them.

https://i0.wp.com/images.teamsugar.com/files/upl1/0/3362/14_2008/cell.jpg
Image from teamsugar.com

The other day, my phone died while waiting for the bus [It was horrible!]. So, rather than staring mindlessly in to space, I made some small-talk with a guy heading to Carrboro and told him he could take the J and not wait 45 minutes for the CW. It felt good. It got me thinking….

It’s time to UNPLUG! I have come up with a 10 day challenge, and I invite you to try it with me. Since we all have work, school, and social lives, I have fairly realistic expectations. Still, I think we can semi-unplug from the world more often than we think. So, here it is:

Jani’s 10 day Challenge of Unplugging

  • Day 1 Friday: When you’re out with a partner or friend, make a deal to keep your phones in your pockets, bags, etc.
  • Day 2 Saturday: It’s the weekend! Do not check your work or school email accounts. Not even once.
  • Day 3 Sunday: Invest in a watch! Since it is Sunday, maybe you have some time to go find one. This way, you can check your watch for the time instead of your phone.
  • Day 4 Monday: Read the DTH or a hardcopy of some magazine or newspaper to check out any local events happening this week.
  • Day 5 Tuesday: Do not spend all day at a computer. Time yourself so that every hour, you get up and walk around for about 5 minutes. During that time, say hi to a colleague, another student, or a friend. Whatever you do, do not take your phone with you.
  • Day 6 Wednesday: While eating meals, keep your phone in a separate room, on silent.
  • Day 7 Thursday: At work, your room, or the library, open your email only twice per hour. [Coming from someone who permanently keeps the email tab open while on my computer, I know this will be my biggest challenge]
  • Day 8 Friday: When you are watching television, and a commercial comes on, do anything other than pulling out your phone.  Maybe even jumping jacks!
  • Day 9 Saturday: If the weather is nice, enjoy the outdoors! Go for a hike or to the park, and leave your phone at home or in the car. [If you do not feel safe, keep your phone with you but do not look at it!] If it is rainy or cold outside, enjoy a hot beverage of your choice and a movie in the comfort of your own home, and turn your phone completely off during this time.
  • Day 10 Sunday: It is the last day of the challenge and I am hoping that tomorrow we can return to work or school feeling completely rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. What are we going to do to celebrate? Find a moment to answer a text with a phone call or Skype date instead of another text.

[TIPS for Success: Hey iPhone users, did you know there is a function on your phone called “Do Not Disturb” that will save incoming calls, messages, and alerts for later until you unlock your phone?]

My hope is that together, we can all unplug from this world and be in the moment for at least 10 days and continue some of these habits for our minds’ sake. You will be happier, your friends will be happier, and your mental health and boss or professor may be happier, too!

~JR

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Avoiding the Stress Competition and 6 Other Tips for Surviving Finals

This blog was originally posted on April 30, 2012 and was written by Sarah Weller. Also check out this post by Bob Pleasants for more study tips or The Learning Center for finals week services like Study Boot Camps, Academic Coaching and Peer Tutoring!

Finals period! Oh what a wonderful time of year!

Sike. Let’s just be blunt. Finals. Period. Sucks. It’s a stressful time of year. End of story. There is really no way that a 2 week period testing your knowledge on ALLLL the things that you learned during the past 14 weeks could be anything but a little stressful.  But there are some ways to make it suck less, and maybe to even harness some of that stress for good.

  Above all- Don’t Engage in the Stress Competition at all costs!!!

Person 1:“I’m so stressed. I have 2 papers, and 3 finals to go. I’ve been up since, like, 6:30 this morning.”

Person 2: “Uh, me too. I’ve had like 6 cups of coffee today. I only got like 3 hours of sleep.”

Person 1: “Oh yea, I only got like 2.5. I had to finish that take home we had due for biochem.”

How often have you been hanging out with friends during high-stress times like finals period and suddenly found yourself in a similar conversation, wherein, one person’s stressors just feeds off the other’s. BEWARE! While this might seem like simple commiseration, it only serves to perpetuate an atmosphere of stress! In fact, let’s all actively FIGHT the stress competition. When you find yourself beginning to engage in a Stress Competition, immediately say something nice. Something positive. Do jumping jacks. Make a scene. ANYTHING but engage in the stress competition- for serious.

Oh and here are 6 other handy tips for finals times…

1.       Make a Schedule: Sound familiar? You’ve probably received this advice on repeated occasions, but it’s a good suggestion, so it bears repeating. Many times, stress stems from trying to squeeze too much into too little time. By setting out a schedule, you help to structure your time, ensuring that you’re not left at the 12th hour with 20+ pages to read/write. (Bonus: By creating a schedule and using your time wisely you have more time for #3 and #4!)

2.       Prioritize: Much like making a schedule, prioritizing helps you to avoid that last minute cram.

3.       Avoid Productive Procrastination (Or Procrastination At all): Personally, I often try to do smaller easier tasks, while ignoring my looming larger assignments, something a friend of mine calls productive procrastination. While this might seem like at least I’m getting something done, it really just causes me extra stress when I have to scrabble to finish the BIG assignments in the end. Those little assignments aren’t going anywhere, and they’ll be just as easy when you’re done with the big one. Same thing for procrastination at all. It’s only going to sneak up on you in the end. Facebook, Twitter, that trip to Taco Bell will still be there when you’re done (and can even serve as a pleasant reward for finishing!)

4.       Take Care of Yourself: I CANNOT repeat this enough. If your body is not well, your mind is not well. Deprive it of the essentials– sleep, nutrients from good food– it’s just not going to perform the way you want it to, and you’re not going to perform the way that you want to. So treat your body right. Take care of yourself.

5.       Don’t Forget Balance: Staying balanced during finals period can be hard. But don’t forget to intersperse some of the activities that really make you happy in between papers and study sessions.

6.       Set Realistic Goals: Know what you can and cannot do. Finishing an X page paper in X amount of time might be realistic for some, but not for you. Use this knowledge to help guide you in #1 and #2.
Any other great suggestions on avoiding finals time stress?