Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Keeping your head during stress-filled finals

Yet again, we students come face-to-face with the study-session-packed dead week followed by the oh-so-dreaded final exams, on top of the everyday stress we already cope with. Dead week and finals are as enjoyable as changing a crying baby’s diaper: It’s difficult, mandatory and stinks like hell.

When put in such situations, stress levels can reach an all-time high, which can adversely affect one’s health. Blood pressure and pulse rates escalate, the immune system plummets, muscles become tense, the digestive systems falters (constipation is no laughing matter, my friends) and sleep is disturbed.

Basically, nothing good comes from too much stress. Here are some simple and healthy ways to manage it:


Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. There’s a memorable quote from Elle Woods in the movie “Legally Blonde” that comes to mind whenever I think of exercise’s mental health benefits.

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy,” she said. “Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”

Elle Woods couldn’t be more right when it comes to endorphins. They are mood-boosting hormones released during physical activity. Leave the library and take a study break to walk around campus when the pressure of finals starts to get to you. Going for a walk outside when it’s sunny is an extra plus.


Get some sleep. There’s a reason why Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street is so mean: He lives in a garbage can, and there’s no way to sleep well in a garbage can. Save all innocent by-standers from a lash-out and get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Also, sleep is shown to help retain new information, so getting plenty of shut-eye helps when studying for a big exam.


Meditate and take deep breaths. Deep breathing decreases heart rate, relaxes constricted muscles and gives you a moment to let your mind collect itself. Take a few deep breaths when you feel tense. Imagine Michelle Branch singing “Breathe” to you.

“Everything is alright if I just breathe.”


Eat well. Many dieters see them as the devil, but carbohydrates are actually very important and great for times of stress. Carbs help the body produce serotonin, a hormone that creates a feel-good mentality, in an all-natural way. Complex carbs such as whole grain bread or cereal are great for boosting a downtrodden attitude. Try oatmeal with old-fashioned rolled oats for breakfast or a sandwich with whole grain bread at lunch.


Keep caffeine, alcohol and other drug consumption down to a minimum. These tend to only enhance stress and make you even more irritable. A glass of wine never hurts, but getting wasted will only make the next day worse with a hangover.

Practice all of the above and relax. Believe it or not, we will survive. Good luck with finals everyone!

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