The dreadful finals week will commence in a little more than a week and for some Sacramento State students, the pressures of school and personal life can be a burden, which, according to several campus experts, may negatively impact their health.
Many students also face more stress at this time of year due to a more challenging balancing act of a heavier homework load, exams, outside work and planning to travel home over the holiday break.
Kinesiology professor Jennifer Park said that the health risk is twofold: physical and mental decline.
“Students are run down because of work, school, not eating very well, not sleeping, keeping irregular hours and stress,” Park said.”All these things depress their immune systems and then at the end of the semester, they’d end up sick.”
She also said that it is crucial to stay healthy during this time of year as it can be difficult for students with a large amount of responsibilities.
Dance major Katlynn Murdock said she tends to feel the stressful tension around this time of the semester since her busy workload consists of performing in dance shows and preparing for other classes’ finals.
“I’ve noticed that many teachers will assign a major project throughout the semester and it tends to be due near the end of the semester.” Murdock said. “It can be a lot to try and situate.”
Daryl Parker, a kinesiology professor, said that students should look beyond the semester and be prepared for the holiday break as some will be traveling back home.
“There are family obligations, travel obligations, so staying healthy during this time period is hard because we have a smaller amount of time and with that, we usually give up exercise,” Parker said.
To reduce stress levels, both professors advised students to sleep, take breaks and even laugh more often just to boost their immune system.
Social work major Emily Vang said she always tries out these methods in the days leading up to finals weeks.
“Health — mentally, physically, emotionally or even spiritually — is something that I am active in,” Vang said. “I try my best to have self-care and not neglecting these needs. But it is harder to maintain this overall during school, especially during finals season.”
Here are some more tips and tricks from professors Park and Parker, as well as some Sacramento State students and other experts who were asked what they’d do to maintain good health during this time of the year:
Advice from professors:
- Take a break and do something funny that makes you laugh.
- Sleep, or take naps as substitutes when necessary.
- Do anything. You don’t need an hour to go to the gym.
- Do short bursts of intense exercises to help kill your appetite and minimize weight gain.
- Take a few minutes and do anything that gives you movement whether it’s walking, running, or doing squats in your kitchen with canned vegetables as weights.
- Have good personal hygiene.
Advice from Alexandria Byrd, student manager of the Nutrition Program:
- Have healthy snacks available at all time.
- “The higher the saturated fat and the empty calories, the more stressed out, down and tired you will actually end up feeling.”
- Prepare healthy homemade meals.
- Have refillable water bottle.
- Holidays can be difficult, but it’s all about portion control. Use small plates.
- Have balance: half fruits and vegetables, and half starch and protein.
- “Make your plate look like a rainbow.”
- Some pieces of chocolate as snacks can reduce stress.
Advice from Students:
- “I’ll watch a little TV show if I’ve been studying for a long time.” – Kelsey Couttes, music major.
- “I’d go to The WELL and hang out with family a lot.” – Adrian Vargas, business major.
- “Take it one ay at a time. Have a good support system and group of friends. Try to take 30 minutes naps and get good sleep. Drink a lot of fluids. Ask for help from teachers.” – Sarah Sabu, speech pathology major.
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