De-Stress for Finals Week


Urban Dictionary defines finals week as the following: “The worst week of a college or high school student’s life. Finals week involves pulling an all nighter to reverse the months of slacking… Finals week involves a lot of stress and very little sleep, the college or high school student will be on edge the entire time…”

Yes, it’s true, Finals Week can definitely be one of the most stressful weeks of the quarter. But, we are determined to help you get through it and create the perfect recipe of success instead of stress! We created this guide to help you prepare for the busy weeks ahead to hopefully help you stay calm, organized and feeling well. While it is important to get good grades and pass your finals, it is also vital to take care of yourself. This self-care guide will help you balance finals week by providing you with practical wellness tips that will help you conquer your exams while staying healthy and happy!

How to use the Self-Care Tips list:

While it is important to maintain a balance in all of these areas, we know how difficult it can be to be to juggle work, school and personal life as a student. We suggest you pick 2-3 areas from the self-care tip list that you would like to incorporate into your schedule during week 10 and finals week. If you find yourself able to tackle and incorporate 2-3 tips in your everyday routine and to-do list, you can slowly start adding more!

Self-Care Tips List:


Sleep is usually a low priority during finals week but staying well-rested is important in helping your body stay balanced and going through finals week without getting sick or being exhausted. It is also important in maintaining all the information you just memorized in long-term memory.

  • Stop studying 30-40 minutes before bed: Try to clear your mind and take a break from the material you have been studying all day. Do something that you find relaxing instead like catching up on your favorite book, taking a shower, or listening to music. Try unplugging from social media if you can.
  • Sleep environment: Evaluate your sleep environment to see if the temperature, noise and comfort levels are conducive to getting a full night’s rest. Blocking out the light and avoiding screen time (such as cell phones or laptops) before bedtime are other ways prepare your body for sleep.
  • Napping: 20-30 minute naps have been shown to be beneficial as a supplement to getting your 7-9 hours of sleep while boosting your energy and increasing your memory. For more information on our student ranked nap location on campus visit our Nap map.


During finals it may be hard to find the budget or enough time to cook or eat a balanced meal, but proper nutrition can help you function better and stay alert. Avoid stressing about what to eat during finals week by meal prepping healthy meals before finals week. Find more information about meal prepping and quick and easy recipes on the UC Davis Teaching Kitchen Pinterest.

  • Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine, a chemical in coffee, colas, tea, and chocolate, causes hyperactivity and wakefulness which can be appealing during finals week in order to try and stay awake. It’s best to consume caffeine in the morning or early afternoon to avoid staying up too late and disrupting your sleep schedule.
  • Cut down on alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and can actually increase anxiety and induce stress. This means if you drink alcohol it can cause you to become more tired or cranky while studying/taking exams.
  • Healthy Snacks: #PackASnack, a balanced snack can help you stay alert during long study sessions and boost your mood. Try bringing a balanced snack to your next study group or review session.
  • Locations and Hours: Check out the new Food Access Map for more information about microwave locations, hours and food resources.


Did you know that regularly drinking water improves brain function, helps prevent headaches and increases energy? Drinking the recommended daily eight 8-ounce glasses of water can be difficult for some. Try splitting the amount amongst your “to-do” list, or try setting an alarm on your phone as reminders! Here are some more hydration hacks as the temperatures start to rise in Davis. For more hydration tips visit our hydration blog.

  • Start every day with water: Try making drinking water the first thing you do each day and before you know it you have incorporated it into your daily routine and created a healthy habit!
  • Chase juice and caffeine with water: An easy way to stay hydrated and add in your recommended intake is to chase your juice, coffee, or any non-water drink, with water! This can also help dilute the added sugars and extra caffeine to help keep your body in a balance.
  • Infuse your water: Mixing fruits or flavor to your water can help you reach your daily water intake goal by new flavors to your water. Also a great alternative to sugary drinks.
  • Locations and Hours: Check out our H2O Hydration Map for hydration station locations on campus!


With so much going on, we understand that finding time for physical activity may seem like an impossible task. It is recommended to get about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. While that may seem like a lot, it breaks down to only 30 minutes of movement a day. Here are some ways to get in your daily 30 minutes of physical activity! For more information on how to include movement breaks while studying visit our active aggie blog.

  • Stretching: Include 2-5 minutes of stretch breaks in between your studies to help you stay awake and alert. Your posture at a desk, on the floor or bed may be hurting your back and making you tense and stiff so this can also help blood circulation and aches.
  • Walking: It has been shown that walking helps stimulate the brain and activate certain regions that help you do well on tests! Try adding walking breaks in your checklists as easy self-care study breaks.
  • Leaving study environment: Whether it is walking, taking the stairs, stretching, biking or playing a game of sports, it is important to try and leave your study environment every once in a while as a study break. This change in environment can be refreshing and help you refocus while studying.

Stress Relief

College is a time that can be notoriously stressful especially during finals week. Along with studying rigorous material, we simultaneously juggle many other commitments such as jobs, relationships, newfound independence and more. Here are quick self-care tips to help alleviate some stress during finals week! For more tips on how to manage stress as a college student visit our stress blog.

  • 50/10 Rule: Work in 50 minute chunks and use the last 10 minutes to give your body a break from the material that you have been studying.
  • Meditation, music, and having fun: Make sure you are not spreading yourself too thin with your study schedule. Incorporate time for relaxation breaks whether that be yoga, walking, listening to music, or playing a board game with friends!
  • Asking for help: Never be afraid to ask for help! Attend tutoring sessions, office hours and ask colleagues who have already taken the class or are doing well in the class for some help.
  • Locations and Hours: Visit our Mental Health Map for self-care location and hours on campus.

Time management

Learning to balance your time is a tricky art – many students are juggling school, work, and extra-curriculars. On top of all that, students have to find time to get a healthy amount of sleep and physical activity, as well as maintain a balanced diet. Learning to master time management can be difficult, but with some tips and practice, it can be achieved by anyone! For more information about how to master time management visit our time management blog.

  • Creating a checklist: Whether you have a day by day checklist or hour by hour checklist, try planning out what you want to study each day. Try to schedule some of the above self-care tips into your checklist to find time to create a balance between studying and taking self-care breaks. Here is an example of a weekly checklist:
  • Prioritizing: Try prioritizing the easy and quick tasks first so you can feel accomplished, gain a momentum and motivation to tackle the more difficult and longer tasks. Keep in mind deadlines when doing this. You may want to set up your own personal deadline versus the actual deadline to give some cushion.
  • Location and Hours: Here is a compiled list of great Studying Spaces on campus during finals week (it is updated at the end of each quarter).
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