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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Poll: How do you de-stress during finals week?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)
A woman in a yellow sweater spreads her arms beneath a bright source of light. How do you de-stress during finals week? (Courtesy of Getty Images)

The semester is coming to a close with finals, the final hurdle before winter break. Exams, projects or both might make the last week of the semester hectic for students. There is a lot of pressure because finals affect our marks, and many students have to deal with heavy workloads and long periods of studying.

Although we cannot completely erase the tension before the exams, we can control it and prevent a collapse. During the week of exams, finding a way to relax is essential. How do you de-stress before finals?


Getting enough sleep helps lessen stress and relieve other problems. The body needs rest to replenish itself for the next day. While staying up late to study is appealing, there are occasions when sleeping is more beneficial.

 Shortening sleep time reduces REM sleep. During REM sleep, our brains process and remember new information when we dream most. REM sleep is critical when preparing for exams; thus, students who miss out on sleep miss out on cognitive performance, according to the Sleep Foundation.


A healthy diet can reduce stress in several ways. Getting proper nutrients helps you prevent mood swings, lightheadedness and low immune system defenses. A good diet gives you the extra energy you need to manage stress, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

Strategies to help students eat healthier include eating regularly, drinking plenty of water, snacking on healthy foods like nuts and fruit, and limiting caffeine, alcohol, high-sugars and fast foods.


Mental health may be improved by physical activity. Exercise may boost endorphin production – your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters – according to Mayo Clinic.

Removing your daily anxieties via movement and physical exercise helps you focus on one task, and the resulting energy may help you stay calm, clear and focused in everything you do. 

You can get some exercise if you take a short walk around campus. Yoga is also a stress-relieving practice you can do at home.


Whether you like reading, listening to music, playing video games, hiking or cooking, doing a fun activity between study sessions can help relieve stress. Maintaining hobbies may boost your happiness because they provide people enjoyment, according to Verywell Mind.

Hobbies provide joy, independence and reduce chronic stress. Give yourself a break, and do something fun to recover from burnout.


Stressed students might experience more anxiety. Meeting other students who are optimistic about their finals could motivate you to study better.

College might be challenging, but building a support system to help you manage stress is possible. Walking, doing yoga or going to a coffee shop with supportive people is a beautiful way to relax.

How do you de-stress during finals week?

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How do you de-stress during finals week?


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Results of last week’s poll: Who is your favorite ’90s female R&B singer?

Lauryn Hill – 2%

Mariah Carey – 4%

Brandy – 2%

Whitney Houston – 8%

Aaliyah – 83%

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