Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"I'm so stressed!": Coping with Stress During Finals

April can be one of the most stressful months of the academic year. As students, we have multiple papers, quizzes, group projects, jobs, preparing for finals, and other responsibilities. We have a lot of things to do, and it seems like there is such little time. This is when we start to feel stressed, anxious, and sometimes overwhelmed. 

Many aspects of life cause stress and can impact your physical and emotional health. Stress impacts everyone in a unique way and everyone deals with stress differently. One may experience a range of consequences from stress, from mild to severe. How stress impacts one person may not affect another. Some examples of stress impacts include:

  • Lower levels of self-esteem
  • Practice of unhealthy behaviors, including poor nutrition, drugs, and alcohol
  • General irritability
  • Anxiety/anxious feelings for no specific reason
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Weight issues/ Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Body aches/pains, especially in the neck and/or lower back

There are various ways to cope with stress. Depending on your life situation, there are different tactics to controlling stress and channeling in ways that help you become a more productive person. The more proactive we are with stress in our lives, the better chance we have  of keeping a sense of balance and making sure the stress doesn't turn into over-stress.

Tips & Tricks to Cope With Stress:
  • Create a schedule and prioritize
    • Plan your activities and be sure to allow yourself the time you need to get work done. It is best to over-estimate than having to stay up all night and rushing to finish a project or assignment.
  • Tackle the biggest task first
    • By starting with the biggest task, you are likely to have more energy (usually at the start of the day) which will increase your chance of success. Do the task early and you will also create momentum to continue accomplishing other tasks.
  • Regularly exercise
    • Walking when you can, taking workout classes, or exercising for at least 10 minutes a day can elevate your mood, release tension, and keep you healthy.
  • Reduce alcohol and drug use
    • These substances may add to headaches, decrease coping mechanisms, and add to depression. Avoiding alcohol and drugs can also increase stress levels as they can cause health issues and legal problems.
  • Take care of your body
    • Staying up late, eating fast food frequently, and drinking energy drinks may make you feel more productive for a while, but can ultimately cause more problems in the long-run. Eating right and getting adequate rest can keep stress away.
  • Integrate life activities
    • Maybe you get inspired watching late night television and feel the urge to send out emails to friends you've been meaning to contact. Whatever the activity, do it when you are able and willing. By doing things this way, you allow for the ebb and flow of life to run its course.
  • Talk to someone
    • Talk to a trusted friend, family member, colleague or a counselor to express your feelings and explain your stressors. Just talking may help you gain perspective and provide the outlet to start prioritizing tasks and reducing stress.

Leading a More Relaxed Life

Coping with stress is important for having a more relaxed life. A sense of relaxation can be diminished when there are too many "to do" lists running through your head. To help relax, try sitting by yourself for a few minutes and planning out your day before it begins. Planning ahead and prioritizing can help you relax and decreases the chance of sending your body back into stress mode. Getting regular exercise, gentle stretching, meditation and massages can all help you lead a more relaxed life.
Don't Stress Ace That Test

The HERC will be hosting Don’t Stress Ace that Test Monday April 25 through Thursday April 28th from 11am-1pm in Taylor and Thomas dining halls. We will provide information and activities on stress, sleep, and nutrition.
Questions & Contact Information

For more information on stress, please contact Brittany at the Health Education Resource Center by calling (217) 581-7786, or email  If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like to speak to medical professional, please call the Health Service clinic at (217) 581-3013. You may also call the Counseling Center at (217) 581-3413 to speak with a counselor.


  1. Thanks for sharing this information. I found it very informative as I have been researching a lot lately on practical matters such as you talk about.. natural factors stress relax

  2. thanks for these items! of course, final exam brings a lot of stress situation! will help you yo deal with them!