#DolphinsLiveWell: “Phinish Strong!”

#DolphinsLiveWell: “Phinish Strong!”

Welcome to the last #dolphinslivewell column of the semester. We hope that you have enjoyed and benefited from the topics we’ve covered and that you have been able to incorporate the information into your daily wellness practice. Many of the topics we’ve discussed in this column, as well as covered during the Wellness Center’s Healthy Monday Tabling outreach, are all positive actions you can take to maintain mind/ body/spirit balance. This will help as you are coming into probably the most stressful part of the semester: finals week!

You are studying for exams, finishing final papers, and projects, and at the same time experiencing mounting excitement about the upcoming break. Keeping the balance is more important than ever at this point in time and so here are just a few tips to help you stay sane and  finish strong!

It is tempting to go out and celebrate the end of classes this Friday, but it might make more sense to keep it to a minimum and spend that time, and Saturday, organizing and engaging in strategic planning on how to manage your finals. Once you have all of the study materials assembled and your study schedule set up for your finals, then take a break to reward yourself for getting this far! This will keep you focused and motivated.  And planning will help minimize your anxiety by breaking the process down into manageable components.  Did you know that accomplishing a task releases dopamine in your brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation?  So the next step is to start studying, and the best way to study is for short periods of time with a break halfway through. This helps you process and retain the information; cramming is NOT the best option when it comes to recalling information when you are actually taking the exam.  

Another way of increasing your chances of success during finals is to take care of yourself! Try to get some kind of exercise each day…even 20 minutes will release more brain chemicals that will keep you calmer and help with energy and memory. Eating right, such as cutting back on fats, and increasing protein can keep you physically healthy, increase your stamina, and nourish your brain. Sleep is very important because the brain cleans out toxins when we sleep. Also, lessons and experiences from the day are processed in our subconscious during sleep, helping us to retain and remember information.  

So resist the temptation to cram: one night of no sleep can throw off the next few days! And as you get ready for finals over the next few days, keep these tips in mind and practice them…you don’t have to wait until New Year’s to make resolutions! All of us in the Wellness Center for Health & Counseling wish all of YOU a peaceful (and restful!) holiday break.