Tips for Managing Stress During Finals

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Victoria Penate
Features Editor

As the quarter comes to a close — and stress levels often rise as a result — it becomes more important than ever to take proper care of one’s own physical and mental health. Fortunately, with some preparation and knowledge on how to manage stress, the end of the quarter can go smoothly and successfully.

Take advantage of UCSB’s scenic location and move your study break beachside.

With the ocean in such close proximity to UCSB’s campus, it can be easy to become accustomed to the crash of waves and coastal breeze — to the point that many Gauchos often forget what a soothing experience awaits upon paying the beach a quick visit.

In addition to the general de-stress potential of a simple break, the ocean in particular has been shown to offer a calming effect to those who are near it.

In an interview with NBC News, clinical psychologist Richard Shuster said, “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”

So, when taking a step away from studying, it may prove worthwhile to take a walk over to the beach and appreciate the steady sound of the waves crashing against the shore. After all, recordings of this sound are a popular choice for relaxing background ambiance — fortunately for the UCSB community, the real thing is always just a quick stroll away.

Moderate your caffeine intake.

From coffee to tea to energy drinks in any flavor imaginable, many Gauchos turn to caffeine for the extra boost of alertness that they need to carry them through an all-nighter or long day at the library. But, in many cases, it can be difficult to gauge the line between healthy and excessive caffeine consumption.

Especially for those who do not normally consume much caffeine, it is important not to make an abrupt change into loading up on the stimulant — not only can it worsen any natural feelings of pre-exam nervousness, but it can present a serious health danger when overused.

A general limit to how much caffeine the average healthy adult can safely consume per day, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, is approximately 400 milligrams. This translates to about four to five standard cups of coffee.

This figure, like any nutritional guideline, will be different for each individual based on personal health. However, one way any caffeine consumer can take for a healthier, more stress-free end to the quarter is to pay attention to nutritional labels, staying mindful of limits rather than pushing them while under academic pressure.

Work off some of your exam season jitters by making time to get some exercise.

For those who feel restless as final exams approach, it may be a good option to work off some excess energy through your preferred athletic activity — anything from a leisurely walk to a vigorous gym workout can often be helpful in clearing the mind. Regardless of the level of activity you can enjoy and safely practice, doing so may help you return to your studies with a renewed sense of calm and concentration.

Below, find listed a few upcoming activities where you can work up a sweat, before you find yourself doing so at the library:

  • The A.S. Commission on Student Well Being will be hosting free yoga classes on March 6 (5:15 p.m.) at the Santa Catalina Vista Room, and on March 9 at the Pardall Center (11:00 a.m.).
  • UCSB’s Swing and Ballroom Dance Club will be hosting a “Swing Dance at the Gym!” event at Robertson Gym on Saturday, March 9 (8:00 p.m.). This is a free event, and will include a dance lesson during the first half hour with an open dance following.
  • In conjunction with Yoga Isla Vista, the Isla Vista Food Co-Op will be hosting a yoga class followed by a brunch on Sunday, March 10 (8:45 a.m.). This event costs $5 and reservations can be made with the Co-Op until March 9.