College is a lot of wonderful things, but relaxed definitely isn't a word that comes to mind. If you're anything like me, the term 'finals week' strikes fear into your heart. That time might take months to arrive, but for someone with school-related anxiety, it's a blaring red signal ahead. As the the first days of school creep up on us, so does the thought of being locked in a room with a whole class full of people and a packet of unanswerable questions staring up at you. It seems as if you can prepare as much as you want with as much time in advance yet the results are always the same: pure nerves and dissatisfaction.

Gabby Phi

If this is reminiscent of your attempts to hit the books, re-working your approach could take a load off. Your body, mind, and schedule will thank you later.

1. Self-Care

Relax 51/52 2011

JanetR3 on Flickr

Self-care routines during finals week are basically everything you wish you actually had the effort to implement into your life. Find the time to do your thing, if it's just an hour or even fifteen minutes. For me, that's meditation, reading a book, listening to some music, or taking a nap. Whatever relaxes you and makes you happy.

This is not a time for bad habits to creep out, even though stress often triggers them. Making the best of your diet, sleep, and exercise patterns can help you feel a lot better than if you were to get black-out drunk so you can forget about that one awful teacher, or consume tons of caffeine to stay up late (it's okay, we've all been there). Doing this can actually increase your anxiety. Instead, drink some green tea, avoid the super size bags of chips, and count the days down till it's all over. Not always the easiest feat, but we've got you covered

2. Plan Your Strategy

Photo by Aaron Burden | Unsplash

aaronburden on unsplash

It sounds ridiculous, but 'realistic self-talk' is a technique that's helped me a lot with anticipatory anxiety. It's easy to pile up finals in your head to make them feel like the end of the world, but in reality, it's not. Breaking up your schedule and studying into manageable bites can help you feel successful instead of overwhelmed. It's only one test, a number, at stake. 

The more you can realistically remind yourself of that, the easier it gets. The less you focus on the fear of failure and basically ruining your entire future, the more time you have to actually study. Not to mention that walking out with a positive feeling definitely reduces the chances of a panic attack the next time around. 

3. The Day Of


brianc on Flickr

Remember to eat breakfast, your brain needs fuel to tackle this. Keeping a clear head and a positive mindset are key to trudging through the next few hours. Pretend you're in a cheesy 80's movie, blast your favorite song in the morning, and it'll be a breeze. 

If you begin to panic before or during the test, a simple grounding technique can help the anxiety become, at the very least, manageable. This follows identifying five things you can currently see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two that you can smell, and one that you can taste. There are also many other routines, such as visualization and breathing exercises, that can help with coping. And, as always, it's important to see a professional if you think you may have an anxiety disorder. 

It's only one week and a few stacks of papers, and then a few months of freedom. Three words: You got this.