Your finals don’t have to be stressful

Mental health counselor offers coping tips

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Ava Amos

Mental health counselor Mrs. Sarah Ehlich offered advice to students for dealing with stress.

Ava Amos, Reporter

Semester exams can create additional stress for students, according to mental health counselor Mrs. Sarah Ehlich. 

“(Finals week) can kind of push students to the limit of staying up too late, being really really tired, trying to cram in too much to the point where it feels really really overwhelming. And so anytime you feel really overwhelmed, it’s never a good feeling,” Ehlich said. 

She gave some tips on how to manage stress and anxiety for finals, or just in general. “I would say just remember to breathe, taking deep breaths. There are some great breathing GIFs that you can pull up online that just give you a visual of breathing in and breathing out. I think Headspace (an online tool and app) is a great resource to just take like two minutes to decompress,” she said.

Headspace is a meditation app that uses a series of cartoons to illustrate meditation principles and lets users conduct guided meditations. “There’s a option that you can pay for it, but there are free sessions as well. So you can do free little mindfulness meditations sessions,” Ehlich said. 

Some more tips she added were going outside and taking a walk, making sure that students get enough sleep and that they eat enough. 

“Just taking care of your basic needs, because I think finals, for everybody, even adults, you know you’re just in this short time period where things are really intense. So sometimes it really is just managing to take care of your basic health needs is the most important. And then taking time for yourself, especially after finals are over to really decompress,” she said. 

She said major role between now and the end of the year is  just listening and hearing what students have to say. And for students who are really distressed, Ehlich and the student will perform what she called a “time out” to breathe. 

“We talk about the parts of finals that feel the most stressful for them, and what kind of pressures go into that. Because it’s usually not even about finals, it’s about the long-term goals for students, like wanting to get into college, and we’re tail-spinning way into the future instead of thinking about where we are in this moment,” Ehlich said. 

She said she usually tries to remind students that they are intelligent and as long as they aren’t cramming and trying to study for tests the day of those exams, and that they’ve retained knowledge and information and that’s going to get them through it. 

She said, “Just like building confidence in that you have the skills and the knowledge, you’re more than likely going to be OK.”