It’s the end of the semester, and that means that it’s time for final papers. And if it’s time for final papers, it’s also time to stress about final papers. Few things in college cause more upset, anxiety, and stress than the panic that breaks out as students race to beat the deadline for their final papers, which are often the largest and most complicated of the term. The combination of a time crunch and challenging length and depth requirements can leave students reeling. While we can’t make the workload any less massive, we can offer you some tips and tricks to help you reduce stress while writing papers in final exams. Here are five of the most effective ways to defeat paper-writing stress.
On of the biggest sources of stress is the sense of uncertainty when you aren’t sure what to do or how to get it done. Creating a detailed schedule can help you to regain that feeling of control and to move forward through your tasks in a way that will keep you on track with a minimum of stressful delays. Organize your day so you have blocks of unbroken writing time to work on your final papers. Putting your writing time into large blocks will help to reduce stress because you will be working on your papers at fixed time with definite start and end times rather than trying to scramble to fit writing in between other tasks.
It might sound counterintuitive to take time off when you are on deadline, but you can become a more effective and professional paper writer by taking regular breaks during the writing process. The longer that you write, the more your brain will become bored and fatigued, and this reduces the effectiveness of your writing. You will also feel more stressed if you are staring down hours of unbroken work. To cut back on stress and to make the writing process easier, try taking regular breaks. A five-minute break after half an hour of work will give your brain a chance to decompress and destress, and it will also help you to be fresher and more alter when you return to work. The more confident you feel about your paper, the less stress you’ll experience.
The flip side of taking a break is that you also need to avoid taking too many breaks. Procrastination leads to stress because tasks keep looming on the horizon, and putting them off makes them that much harder to complete as time grows short. By completing tasks on time, particularly the milestones you lay out in your schedule, you can reduce stress by knowing you are on task and are knocking off one requirement after the next until you’re done.
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress because studies have shown that physical movement helps to release anti-stress hormones. When you work out, you release important brain chemicals that regulate our body chemistry and out emotions. Exercise makes you feel good, and feeling good helps you to be more relaxed and more alert when you are ready to work. Exercise also helps you to have a better night’s sleep and to digest your food more effectively.
When you are stressed, you probably turn to the types of food that make you feel happy: foods high in fat, sugar, and salt like ice cream, pizza, or potato chips. That, however, is exactly the wrong way to try to beat stress! Foods high in fat, sugar, and salt tend to have fewer of the nutrients you need to keep your body working at top performance levels, and these foods also tend to leave you feeling tired and sluggish after eating them. Instead, choose healthy foods that contain high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals or that are low in sugar and carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains. You will feel more alert and less stressed when your body has the right kind of fuel.
Paper-writing can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a source of extreme stress and anxiety. By following our tips for reducing stress, you’ll have a more relaxing and invigorating paper-writing experience. It may not leave you looking forward to final papers, but it can make it much less unpleasant to write those end of semester essays.