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Strategies for Stress Management During Midterms

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2014 2:00:00 PM

Days or weeks of constantly studying for midterms, being slammed down by pressure to excel, cause a great deal of mental and physical strain. Take a break and make an effort to reduce your stress, and you'll find you not only live a happier and healthier student life, but you'll also probably find it in yourself to get centered and do better on your exams as a result.

Move

Exercise is an effective strategy for managing stress, according to the Mayo Clinic. It puts you in a better mood by increasing your brain’s production of endorphins, which are natural chemicals that give you a sense of well-being. Physical activity also helps increase your self-confidence and improve your focus, which can help you perform your best Exercising for as little as 10 minutes at a time can provide benefits. Short walks or bike rides are efficient options if time is limited. Walk up and down your dorm stairs or ride to meet a study group for coffee. If you have enough time, take a group exercise class, such as spinning, step aerobics or Zumba.

Stretch

Stress can trigger back pain, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. In a vicious cycle, pain can interfere with your ability to concentrate, causing additional stress during midterms. Just like exercise, the simple act of stretching your back can help reduce pain.

The seated straddle stretch does not require any equipment; do it on your dorm room or apartment floor when you take a break from a study session. The American Council on Exercise provides step-by-step instructions and photos of the seated straddle stretch. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs in a “V†position. Legs should be straight, with toes and knees pointed up toward the ceiling. Hinge forward from the hips, reaching forward with your hands and keeping your spine straight. Reach until you feel tension in your inner thighs, lower, middle and upper back and hamstrings. Slowly release the stretch after 30 seconds, and repeat.

Stretch your legs, arms and neck in addition to your back to prevent pain and manage stress. Experts at Laser Spine Institute have provided videos and guidance on back stretches you can do anywhere, even in a dorm room or university library.

Sleep

Lack of sleep after days or weeks of studying can leave you feeling groggy, grouchy and unable to concentrate. When you are short on sleep, you may not retain information as well. The National Sleep Foundation provides several suggestions for getting adequate sleep. They include tips like being consistent about when you go to sleep and wake up, avoiding caffeine and large meals too close to bedtime, sleeping in a dark, quiet room and avoiding late-afternoon naps. The Sleep Bot Tracker app for Android and the Sleep Cycle alarm clock for iOS can help you improve your sleeping habits and get the most out of the time that you spend sleeping.


Topics: Test-Prep Private-School

 

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