For college students, finals week is one of the most stressful weeks of the entire semester. Between all of the exams, papers, group projects and presentations, our stress levels increase, and often our health declines as a result. We barely have time to eat, let alone think about maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the week.
Because of the stress that finals week brings, it’s important for college students to stay healthy during this time, not just for our health, but for our performance on finals. So before you begin stress-eating and reach for that sixth Reese’s cup, check out these three tips that will make it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be at your best for whatever finals week throws your way.
MEAL-PREP THE WEEKEND BEFORE
You know you’ll be busy during finals week. Between cramming for hours in the library for your economics exam and holing up in a campus coffee shop for the day while you finish your English paper, you won’t have a ton of free time during finals week to prepare healthy meals to maintain your healthy lifestyle. That’s where meal-prepping comes in handy!
Take a study break for two or three hours the Saturday or Sunday before finals week and head to the grocery store to purchase ingredients for all of the meals and snacks you plan on eating during the next week. Then once you get home, cook and prepare all of your meals and snacks, then store them in air-tight containers.
Then, when you’re feeling hungry, grab one of your prepared meals or snacks, instead of reaching for that candy bar. Meal-prepping will save you time, and save you from stress eating unhealthy foods throughout the week, so you have one less thing to worry about.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
College students are short on time during finals week, which often leads to long nights and opting for studying over sleeping. While you may see this as productive and necessary, a lack of sleep during finals week is actually detrimental to your healthy lifestyle. Not getting enough sleep can lead to serious health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. While you’re not going to have a heart attack the morning after getting two hours of sleep, if a lack of sleep is coupled with other unhealthy habits, you do run the risk of being more susceptible to these serious health issues in the future.
Plus, a lack of sleep can also be detrimental to your performance on exams, papers and projects during finals week. Not getting enough sleep causes a lack of attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving, and makes you less likely to remember everything you learned that day when you wake up the next morning.
So, do yourself a favor: get a good night’s sleep during finals week. You don’t have to get 10 hours each night, but make sleep a priority, for both your health and your grades.
HIT THE GYM
Working out is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but hitting the gym is even more important to a college student’s health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, throughout your body, which in turn, reduces stress, which tend to be pretty high among college students during finals week.
To maintain your healthy lifestyle (and sanity) during finals week, make sure to take a study break and get your sweat on. This doesn’t mean you need to run five miles or spend two hours on the elliptical, but it does mean that you should make an effort to be active, to maintain your healthy lifestyle and reduce stress. Whether it’s taking a walk around your college campus for a half hour or cranking up some tunes and having a dance party with your roommates in your living room, a little activity will go a long way in releasing endorphins and reducing stress.
Seriously, it’s that simple. Just meal-prep, get some sleep and hit the gym throughout finals week, and you’ll be able to maintain your healthy lifestyle during the most stressful week of the semester. Plus, you might even get better grades on your final exams, which makes every college student stress a lot less!