Words by Samantha Ickes

It’s week 12–only three more weeks before finals week. I don’t know about you, but more and more tests, quizzes, papers and projects keep getting added to my to-do list.

Getting out of bed to leave for class by 7:30 a.m. is a continuous struggle. The further we get into the semester, the more I wish my professor would just cancel class so I could lay in bed all day, catching up on my Netflix shows or reading the three books I bought during the summer that I haven’t had time to read yet.

At this point in the semester, if you’re feeling like this:

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Don’t stress, you are not alone. Finals week is creeping up on us, but here’s a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Thanksgiving is next week.

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Thanksgiving break gives us three days off of classes, plus the weekend, to unwind and get stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie–don’t forget the whipped cream. Take this time to decompress and spend some time with loved ones. You might even find the time to get started on that project you’ve known about since day one of the semester but put off until the week before it’s due.

2. Get some sleep.

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Getting at least eight hours of sleep is imperative to acing those final exams. Staying up all night can be really bad for concentration and focus. Academic performance can be reduced significantly by not getting the amount of sleep you need. Put aside thoughts of how studying has made your social life nonexistent and count some sheep!

3. Take time to have fun.

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Don’t stay cooped up in your room for the last three weeks of the semester cramming for tests or writing papers. Take some time out of your week to be social. Between work, school and maintaining relationships, life can be stressful. Getting a cup of coffee or going out to Ray’s Place for a drink might be the key to help take the edge off.

4. Eat some ice cream.

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I don’t know about you, but in my mind, ice cream can fix everything. Mint chocolate chip is my personal favorite or anything with caramel in it. It might be bad to say this on a health blog, but indulging in some comfort foods during times of stress is nothing to be ashamed of. (As long as you don’t overdo it, of course. Moderation is key to living a healthy life).

5. Lay off the caffeine.

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Heavy consumption of caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, upset stomach and irritability. Like many people, I need my cup of coffee to get my morning started, especially when I have those early-morning classes. However, it’s important to be careful to monitor your caffeine intake.

6. Get moving.

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Any form of exercise, whether it’s yoga, running or lifting weights, can ease depression and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling in the body. This feeling is sometimes referred to as a “runner’s high.” I prefer a lighter form of exercise like yoga, which I’m sure you know if you’ve been reading this blog. Yoga can relieve back pain through stretches and poses as well as relieve stress through deep-breathing exercises.

The main advice I can give you is to listen to your body. Everyone is different, and you know what relieves your stress better than anyone else. Going shopping or taking a bubble bath might be the best outlet for you, while playing video games or going for a drive might be the best way to relieve stress for someone else. Each person reacts to stress differently, and listening to your body and knowing when to take time for yourself is the key to living a mentally healthy life during finals week.

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you this finals week.

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