By Nikki Kontz

 Are you feeling overwhelmed or stressed out by finals? If so, you’re not alone. The end of the school year can be a challenging time for many high school and college students.

Between April and June, some teens call the Teen Lifeline hotline because they need help coping with the added workload and stress that comes with end of the year projects and final exams.

Here are our top 10 Tips for Surviving Finals:

  1. Make a list. Be sure to include everything you need to accomplish. Then prioritize your tasks. This will help you recognize which projects and classes require more time and attention so you can budget your time accordingly.
  2. Find a study space. Depending on your study style, certain environments will be better for studying than others. The library, your kitchen table, a space on the floor of your bedroom – pick the place that works best for you and stick with it.
  3. Have some fun. Spend 15-20 minutes every day doing something just for fun. The break for your brain will do wonders for your productivity later.
  4. Eat healthy. Make sure you’re eating regular, healthy meals during finals week. Loading up on fat and sugar can leave you feeling sluggish and unfocused. Well balanced meals can fuel your brain and help you make the most of your study time.
  5. Breathe. When you feel your stress level start to climb, remember to breathe. Take a deep breath for four counts, hold it for four counts and then exhale for four counts. Repeat this a few times. You may be amazed at how much better you feel.
  6. Call a friend. Talk with a trusted friend or family member about how you’re feeling. Chances are the person you talk to has “been there, done that” or is also preparing for finals. Talking things out, especially with someone who understands what you’re going through, can have the immediate effect of reducing stress levels.

If you don’t know who to talk to, call or text Teen Lifeline at (602) 248-8336 (TEEN). Peer counselors ages 15-19 are available to talk with you every day of the year from 3 – 9 p.m.

  1. Check your self-talk. A lot of stress can be caused by our perceptions and the messages we give ourselves. Positive self-talk can help you feel empowered. Take the time to evaluate what you are saying to yourself. Replace irrational thoughts and expectations with kinder, more rational ones.
  2. Get enough rest. Some students worry that sleep will cut into their study time. In reality, sleep will improve the quality and retention of your studying, making it more effective. Aim for between eight and nine hours of sleep every night.
  3. Reward yourself. Don’t forget to treat yourself when finals are over! Make plans with friends or set aside time to relax as a reward.

And most importantly,

  1. Don’t let grades define you. It’s good that you value your grades and care about doing well in school. But, a less than desirable grade does NOT mean you’ve failed or that you’re a failure. You matter, no matter what grade you get in chemistry!

If you need someone to talk to, please call Teen Lifeline at (602) 248-TEEN (8336) or (800) 248-TEEN. This 24/7/365 hotline is staffed by teen peer counselors from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. daily. Trained counselors are available at all other times.

You can also text with a teen peer counselor at (602) 248-8336 between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. every day of the year.