5 Mental Health Maintenance Tips for Finals Season
When in school, finals season can be the most dreadful time of year. You attempt to salvage what’s left of your GPA, you’re somehow behind despite doing well in the beginning, you’re calculating grades to find out the grade you need
to pass the class. All of this adds an extra heap of that special type of stress unique to academics. For many who struggle with mental health issues, finals time would be the worse time ever to be in a less than optimal state. Here are some tips that may help anyone feeling especially down or anxious:
- Stay hydrated: If you’re someone who experiences cycles of lowness or depression, then you know that when you’re down you tend not to focus on health or self-care. Remembering to drink water can have a positive effect on your focus, concentration, and emotional state.
- Get sleep: Despite what you may think, all-nighters are a terrible idea and can be more harmful than they are helpful. Not getting enough sleep will not only exasperate any depression or anxiety you may be feeling but it will also make studying and acing these finals even harder. Getting quality sleep can improve our hormone levels, our information retention, and recall.
- Talk to someone: If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, now is the time to tap into your support system. This might mean talking to a mentor, professor, parent, friend, sibling or counselor; whoever you can trust and can help you put everything back into perspective.
- Start studying early: The less time we have to do anything, the more stressed we feel in the situation. That being said, while everyone does not have to be the best planner in the world, try to give yourself more time than usual to study for finals. If you enjoy planning, try to schedule specific times every day to study and if you hate planning at least have a rough estimate of how many days you want to spend studying in total.
- Try to eat at least 1 piece of fruit a day: You should try to eat more than 1 serving of fruit a day, but when we struggle with depression we tend not to reach for the best options. Although eating a mango may make me feel brighter and increase my “happy hormone” levels, because of the state I’m in, I’m going to reach for the ice cream and pizza. I do this all the time. But I know that when I feel myself getting overwhelmed, getting some fruit and even greens into my diet improves my mood.
I hope these tips help someone. As a medical student who is constantly in a high-pressure academic environment, making sure to keep these things in mind daily help me feel better longer. The better I feel, the more productive I can be which makes me feel even greater.