Managing Stress During the End of the Semester and Beyond

USU Students

The end of the semester is a stressful time. Whether you’re finishing your degree or still have a long way to go, things can seem overwhelming and stress can just keep building. Some stress is a normal part of life, pushing you to get things done, but too much can lead you to become overwhelmed and unproductive. Stress can even manifest physically in symptoms like headaches, insomnia, and high blood pressure. While it is nearly impossible to control your workload as deadlines approach, there are ways to manage stress so you don’t become overwhelmed.

Here are some tips for reducing and controlling stress during finals week:

  • Take breaks to exercise, spend time with friends and family, or do something you enjoy. These things have been shown to reduce stress and boost your productivity.
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water. (Mayo Clinic)
  • Get plenty of sleep. Getting a full night’s rest is often more beneficial than an extra hour of cramming according to a study done by UCLA.
  • Focus on one project at a time, you’ll be more productive if your mind isn’t jumping between projects.
  • Set realistic goals. You can stretch yourself, but don’t break yourself trying to achieve the impossible.
  • If you get stuck, take a break and work on something easier. Then you’ll at least be able to check something off your list.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

There are on-campus resources to help decrease stress, both during finals and throughout the year.

  • Therapy dogs will be in the library on December 11 and 12 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The benefits of therapy animals include lowered blood pressure, the release of calming endorphins, such as oxytocin, increased focus and motivations and boosted self-confidence (PAWS for People)
  • Counseling and Psychological Services is available free for USU students. Located on the 3rd floor of the Taggart Student Center, CAPS provides confidential mental health services to students attending Utah State University and taking at 9 or more credits.
  • Workshops are put on by CAPS throughout the semester, including topics from sleep patterns, test anxiety, relationships and mindfulness, all free to attend for USU students.
  • For those unable to attend or who need a little help from the comfort of their own home, there is a page of self-help resources.
  • The Novembers Graduate Training Series “Strategies for Staying Emotionally Healthy:” has mental health tips for graduate students. You can view the slides, exercise and a recording of the event on the GrTS website.

Stress won’t ever completely disappear from your life, but stress management and listening to the needs of your body and mind will help increase your ability to cope and decrease stressors’ negative effects.


Writer: Abby Stewart | Office of Research and Graduate Studies |