Finals week is one of the most stressful times during the semester. In many classes, the final test can make or break a grade. And while many students stay up late cramming for their finals and stressing out about them, there are some simple, out-of-the-ordinary ways students can reduce and control their stress levels.
Yoga instructor Sarada Holik suggested students try yoga to help relieve stress. The practice of yoga unites the mind, body and spirit, and if the correct poses are held, it can lead to a less stressful finals week.
"When you do yoga you are not focusing on problems, you're focusing on letting go of stress and tension," Holik said. "Yoga is meditation in action."
Holik recommended doing the triangle pose, the bridge pose, forward bonds and plow/inversions to help minimize stress and anxiety.
For students who are not familiar with yoga, the Recreation Center offers yoga classes throughout the semester.
The stress management program at CSU also offers assistance to any full-time, fee-paying student.
The stress management program teaches students to deal with their stress using biofeedback and other relaxation techniques. Biofeedback combines relaxation training with the use of electronic instruments that measure changes in the body.
"When you're stressed less blood flows to your hands and feet, causing them to get cold. To relax and calm down focus on warming your hands, you can use your mind to influence your body," said Jenifer Thomas, a graduate assistant in the stress management program.
Biofeedback involves using the mind to control and lower stress levels. The stress management program has special machines to help students learn which relaxation techniques work best for them to relieve stress.
Thomas acknowledged that the technique takes some practice, but offered some advice for students who are stressed over finals.
"Pay attention to your thinking. If you see everything as an emergency then your body will respond in emergency mode," Thomas said.
In addition to staying calm during final exams, using aromatherapy can help reduce stress during studying and even help improve memory.
"The biggest stress reducer is lavender. Chamomile and Bergamot also help you relax and are good for studying. Rosemary is good for your memory," Holik said.
Holik explained that smelling rosemary while studying and again while taking a test helps some people better remember the information for their test.
Many students also get sick during finals week. This is because they are changing their eating, sleeping and exercise habits and studying for extended periods of time.
"I encourage students to keep in their same routine. Getting up early and staying up late to study combined with skipping your regular exercise routine will affect stress levels," Thomas said.
Andee Barocas, a freshman open option major, has found a way to help her reduce and manage stress.
"I make a schedule for myself and decide what I'm going to study and how long I am going to study for each subject. Then I don't let myself break it," Barocas said.
She said if she follows her schedule she does not over-study, which she believes can sometimes hurt students.
"Cramming causes excess stress," Barocas said.
Thomas agreed, and offered some last minute recommendations.
"Making a plan of some sort and fitting in some relaxation time can really help. Get good nutrition and plenty of exercise too," Thomas said. "It sounds clich/, but it really helps."