The end of the semester is nigh, promising holiday food, a break from homework, and a chance to sleep in. If you’re in high school or college, though, there’s one last hurdle to jump. Finals.
Finals can be detrimental to your health in a lot of ways. Stress can do a ridiculous amount of damage to your system, and anyone facing hours of testing that can sink your grade is going to be stressed. Many people stay up late into the night studying – 0r doing anything to put off studying – and the lack of sleep compromises their immune system. Students with notebooks full of information to review aren’t likely to go outside. We don’t have time. We end up sitting or lying down all day flicking through pages, getting absolutely no exercise. On top of that, I know I tend to eat more junk food when I’m stressed. I’ll often ‘reward’ myself with unhealthy stuff after accomplishing something, but finals can engender mindless snacking. Also, at my university, most of us are now spending our extra meal points, and most of the items available aren’t very good for us either. Put all of this together, and I’m afraid we’ll all come out of final weeks as fat slobs – just in time for the holiday season.
With this in mind, try to avoid becoming an amoeba – even if you’re studying biology. It won’t give you an edge. The weather isn’t too bad in my location, but even if it’s cold, try to move around a little every day. Many universities have recreation centers, and many neighborhoods have parks or gyms. If it’s cold, bundle up well and go for a short walk. Exercise may feel like a waste of time when you’re staring down a deadline, but it can give you a much needed break and chase away that sluggish feeling.
Eating healthier food is, allegedly, better for your brain. You also won’t regret it later. Depending on your location, healthy stuff can be hard to find. If you eat at school, swing by the salad bar and pick up fruit instead of a cookie. Drink water instead of soda. Tell yourself you can indulge once tests are over, and use that as motivation. It’s a pain – trust me, I know how tempting it is – but avoiding junk food will pay off in the long term. This doesn’t mean not eating any, of course – I don’t think anyone could make it through finals week on carrot sticks – but try to tone it down.
Whether you manage to get outside and eat well or stay curled in the fetal position on your bed surrounded by chips bags, good luck. I hope you all do well on your finals and have a wonderful break.