This semester we will all be taking our final exams from home, again. While it is important to study hard for finals and put lots of effort into those final projects, it’s equally important to make sure that stress doesn’t get the best of you, especially when you’re at home surrounded by family. Here are a few ways you can de-stress and protect your own sanity (and the sanity of your parents) this finals week. Good luck!

1. Utilize Virtual Resources from the Barnes Center

Just because we’re not taking finals on campus, doesn’t mean that the Orange Family won’t have your back this finals week. There are some excellent online resources provided through the Barnes Center at The Arch that students can access from home. A few of them are:

  • The Sanvello App: After creating an account with your SU email address, all students have access to the Sanvello app, the number one app for stress, anxiety and depression management. The app offers mindfulness exercises to help decrease stress and improve wellbeing. The app has numerous guided meditations and mindfulness tutorials taught by experts to help you feel better and get through this stressful week.
  • Virtual Counseling Sessions: If you feel like you need to talk to someone, the Barnes center offers virtual counseling services for students. You can speak to a counselor from the comfort of your own home, just call the Barnes Center to schedule an appointment! (315.443.8000)
  • Virtual Yoga: The Barnes Center also offers virtual yoga classes that can be accessed by signing up through the Wellness Portal. To learn more about using the Wellness Portal, visit the Barnes Center website.

2. Get Active

Getting enough exercise is crucial to feeling less stressed. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release mood boosting endorphins in the brain, thus reducing stress and anxiety. Even if you don’t have the time for a long, intense workout, even taking a walk around the block will help you feel better. You can also try out some of the at-home exercises available on the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience YouTube channel.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is critical to achieving academic success. Most people are familiar with the recommendation of 8 hours of sleep every night, but it’s even more important to make sure you’re not falling behind on sleep. Lawrence Epstein, MD, medical director of Sleep HealthCenters in Brighton, Mass told the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “After two weeks of sleeping six hours or less a night, students feel as bad and perform as poorly as someone who has gone without sleep for 48 hours.” So try to get at least 8 hours every night, and try to avoid all-nighters when possible.

4. Take Breaks from Your Work

Working for hours without breaks is not only not fun, but will make you burn out quicker. Taking frequent small breaks will help you stay focused on the task at hand. Try using the Pomodoro technique to rest your brain and boost productivity. The technique consists of 25 minute intervals of work, followed by a five minute break. Repeat this four times then take a 30 minute break.

5. Check in with Yourself

Finals week is always a stressful time, so make sure to take a moment and check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “How are you doing?” If you need to take a break, take a break. If you’re getting too stressed and overworked, then take a moment to close your textbooks and relax. School is important, but your physical and mental health are more important. So make those things a priority, and your school work will come easier.

Written by Noah Lowy ’21, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications