During finals, tension is stretched to the breaking point. I have my first final on Wednesday [I know, why am I writing this here then?], and I have had a tension headache for two days now. The one thing that I have learned over these past years is to expect the unexpected! What does that mean? What can go wrong will during finals! Your kids will start acting up, you might have car problems, family drama will increase, and all of this just kind of adds up. I have a good cry at least once during this time. Yet time marches on at an incredible speed.
How can you prepare yourself? You really can't. Each semester I think I have myself insulated, or covered in prayer....and it never really works that way. So, here are my tips for finals stress:
1. Take frequent 5 minute breaks....stretch, go walk out on your porch, dance around the room for a moment....whatever.....but break.
2. If you need a nap, nap. Studies show that if you are tired, your brain is not going to absorb the information it needs too.
3. Caffiene is your friend....to a point. Don't over do it! Otherwise you won't sleep.
4. Set a time to stop studying each day and stick to it. Really, sixteen hour study days are not productive. So, make a time to stop. Maybe that is 6 or 7....but stop.
5. Eat healthy and take your vitamins....seriously. Stress breaks down your immune system. You don't want a cold.
6. Ask for help....you might need a break from your child. Ask someone to take them for the day, or an hour, just to give you a break.
7. Pamper yourself......with the little things. Light a candle in the bathroom, take a bubble bath, relax with a glass of wine. Recharging your batteries is essential to surviving stress.
8. Stop studying at six the night before the exam.......stick to it.........If it's not in your head by then, it never will be.
9. Don't stick around after a final....everyone is going to chat about the exam and give their brilliant answers. It will just cause you to doubt yourself. Stick your ipod in before you walk into the building, and stick them back in after the exam....get the heck out of dodge and don't listen to your well meaning, incredibly smart law school friends.
10. Find a comfortable study place.....this is key. I can't study in the law school library.....my dining room table becomes my study area. Everything has it's place and home there. It's by the window so I can look out at my flowers, it's quiet and if I want noise, I can turn my stereo on. If it's really nice out, I can sit on my patio and study. But I have a good chair, and a good place I can park myself and sit for long periods of time.