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Managing Anxiety Part 2: Take Time Out

By the Student Health Center

Posted on March 17, 2023
Photo of a pale green alarm clock sitting in between two blocks of color, one pale pink and one pale aqua

To really be prepared to do your best, you need to take care of yourself. Here are some more tips from Student Health and the Counseling Center. (This post is part two of a two-part series on managing anxiety.)

The to-do list gets long as you prepare for exams and projects. But there’s one important thing that should never get bumped from your list, no matter how busy you are: Take time out.

You probably know how it feels to reach the point of diminishing returns—you keep studying or practicing but is it really helping? Instead of pushing on when you reach this point, consider taking time out.

Being prepared is more than knowing the information. It’s being alert and ready to recall, use, and apply what you know. Real preparation means allowing your body and mind to be there for you during stressful times, by paying attention to your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

So don’t go into a situation ill prepared. While you study, and during finals, take time out to:

  • Eat healthy and stay hydrated. It’s tempting to eat junk food or grab food on the run when you have a busy schedule, but it is important to eat well-balanced meals with fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand and drink lots of water.
  • Get enough sleep. Cramming in as much studying as you can before finals is a common student experience. But when it comes to recall and the actual use of that information, being rested is going to make you more attentive and efficient. Lack of sleep can also cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Make time for sleep. Consider taking short naps (set an alarm to make sure you wake up when you need to) if you’re not feeling well-rested.
  • Relax. Do things that are not related to exam preparation. Even taking 10–15 minutes can help shift your perspective. Clear your head: listen to music, take a walk, practice yoga, and exercise.

Balance is important. A careful mix of diligent study and taking time out for wellness will help you minimize anxiety and be optimally prepared to do your best.

See more resources for managing stress and anxiety here. And remember, the Counseling Center is here for you! Taking time with a mental health professional can help you sort through the challenges you are facing and treat yourself with kindness—it’s all part of being prepared.