How to Deal with Finals Stress

It’s that time of year again—twinkling lights decorate the campus, holiday specials flood the cable schedule, the weekly forecast includes snowfall, and you’ve been camped out in the library for fifteen-plus hours. You have begun to sacrifice your hygiene, your health and your sanity.

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

But letting finals-induced stress overwhelm you will not benefit your exam performance, and while your econ textbook makes for an excellent pillow (osmosis is a thing, right?), you will at some point need a study break that truly gives your mind a rest. In the spirit of giving, we’ve come up with some ideas to help you help yourself:

Social stress-eating

Sure, you'll feel CityCo’s magnetic pull from your cubicle in Bapst. But rather than taking out your anxiety on an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s before returning to your studies mid-sugar-crash, get some friends together to order Fin’s to the study lounge, or meet up for a quick dinner at El Pelón. A good meal will refuel you for another round of outlining, and good company will distract you from your stress.

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Work it out

Take a cue from your favorite law student and incorporate this scientifically proven stress reducer into your exam week schedule, whether that means playing hoops with a friend at the Plex or clearing your head with a run around the Res. After all, exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t fail their finals. They just don't.

Get cultured

If you can find a good break in your exam schedule, make your way off campus to take advantage of Boston’s cultural offerings. The Boston Opera House holds performances of The Nutcracker almost every day this month. If Tchaikovsky doesn’t intrigue you, catch the Goya exhibit at the MFA—it ends shortly after school resumes in January. Or better yet, see a comedy show at the North End’s Improv Asylum for a good laugh, because now more than ever, you could use a reminder not to take life too seriously.

Movie Night

Get your suitemates together for a cozy study break in your common room with PJs, blankets, hot chocolate, and ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Or take the C line to Coolidge Corner’s beloved independent movie house to see one of its current showings, which include the critically-acclaimed Whiplash, Birdman and Foxcatcher.

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Twist and shout

Check out the upcoming schedules of Boston’s many performance venues to see which of your favorite bands are reaching the Northeast stretches of their fall tours, because nothing amps you up like an incredible live music experience. If you find yourself too crammed with work for a night out, don’t underestimate the value of a solo dance party as an easy stress reliever. In the semester’s last minutes of non-quiet-hours, grab a comb or a hairbrush and blast your favorite feel-good song at full volume.


With smartphone apps like The Mindfulness App, you can easily take measures towards finding inner peace. This tool includes guided meditations ranging from three to 30 minutes in length, and a reminder function that can let you know when it’s time to meditate. Taking regular meditation breaks throughout the week will make your end of term stress noticeably more bearable.