It’s almost the end of finals season for some, or it has recently ended for others. It’s undeniable that I struggle to cope with large amounts of deadlines (I had eight to contend with) but with some attention to stressors, it’s possible to get through that. These tips are coming from the mindset of someone with mental health problems, but I hope they will help you all.
How To Stay Calm During Finals Season (And Come Out Unscathed)
- Recognise your stressors: We all know within ourselves (or are getting to know) what brings us stress. In my case, it’s having lots of tasks to complete around the same time and not having an approach to getting them done. I need order and structure in my working life in order to stay calm, from making detailed plans for assignments to making general plans of what tasks to do first.
- Make listing your friend: Anyone that knows me knows I love to make lists. It feels like I’ve accomplished something as I tick off what has been achieved. Moreover, it’s a clear way of knowing both where you’re at and where you’re going.
- Map it out: On the course that I study, we have to write a lot of essays. While it’s true in the British education system that we write larger essays from GCSEs onwards, I’m certainly feeling it now that I’m on a writing degree! One way that you can get through that is to create mind maps for these essays. A way of doing this is to organise them into a ‘road map’ or ‘clock’, with each point relating to a point on the clock face. This helps me visualise the order of my essay as if each point were a puzzle piece, in that a final result can be met in this way.
- Be selfish: Sounds harsh, right? But it’s absolutely necessary for the sake of your wellbeing. By being selfish, I mean focus on the self more. Focus on what you need to be at your optimum health; be it eating better, drinking more water, staying active through physical activity or meditation for the mind, you have to do what’s best for you. It will be a struggle to get through all of the deadlines and exams without being selfish some of the time, so take this opportunity to look after yourself!
- Limit how much you do each day: This is something I’ve been trying to do more when I have impending deadlines, as I am the type to work until I physically have nothing left to give. If you have a big task, find a way to break it down into manageable chunks, and complete a chunk (or two) each day. By doing this, your tasks become much more realistic and achievable as opposed to being overwhelming. In addition, it reduces the chances of becoming stressed by having smaller targets to reach each day.
Where does all of this leave me?
I need to take some of these steps to heart, that much is true! Now that I’m writing these steps after my deadlines, I know that I will need to heed my own advice in the future if I want to remain calm and do well in my studies.
It’s not easy managing deadlines, but with a little management and taking the time to recognise your limits it can be done.