De-stress with a deep breath
Stress is a way people’s bodies react when demanding necessary changes, Kristyn Funasaki, predoctoral intern at the University of Idaho Counseling and Testing Center said.
“It’s basically an automatic physical reaction that we have sort of built-in in people to any sorts of demands or danger,” Funasaki said.
According to Funasaki, when people are stressed, the “fight or flight” response kicks in allowing the body to prepare for threats that may cause muscles to tighten, blood pressure to rise or heart rate to increase.
During this time in the semester, the CTC tends to have an increase in student visits, Funasaki said.
“If we are stressed, sometimes it’s harder to learn things,” she said.“We encourage students to come to our center where they can receive some individual therapy and learn relaxation techniques.”
The CTC has a stress reduction group that students are welcome to attend as well as a biofeedback program used to teach relaxation by monitoring heart rate and blood pressure.
Other stress relief techniques for students include deep breathing, time management, making time for something they enjoy and caring for basic needs like sleep, diet and exercise breaks. It’s also important for students to take study breaks, set realistic goals and have a support system in this time of stress, Funasaki said.
Student Recreation Center Fitness Director Peg Hamlett said trying to overload yourself won’t allow you to learn well.
“They need to plan their study time well — take a break, do some exercise,” Hamlett said.
“Do something that deters their mind from studying, which varies with every student.”
Hamlett said students may want to consider engaging in an intense workout like a cycling class to push adrenaline out and release energy that way. Other students are better off to go to a yoga class and breathe, stretch and relax.
“A lot of the ‘A’-type personalities won’t do as well in a yoga class,” Hamlett said.
Type ‘A’ personalities may not benefit from a slow-moving yoga class because they will continue to think about all the things they have to do that day.
Whereas other students won’t listen to the yoga instructor and actually relax, intensity is better for those students because they don’t have time to think.
Another important step for students to consider during finals, according to Hamlett, is food.
“It’s so important because they get busy and do one of two things — they either avoid eating completely and then binge eat at night and so they don’t sleep well, or they study and constantly eat,” she said.
Food containing nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and potassium will help make finals week a little easier on the brain and body.
“Before a final, a banana and a granola bar would be a really good combination. Something that gives you a little bit of a sugar boost, not too much,” Hamlett said.
A healthy snack about 30 minutes before a test followed by five minutes of breathing and settling in will leave you calm and ready to take on any exam.
Molly Spencer can be reached at email@example.com