Feel Great · Get Well

6 Ways to Prevent Anxiety During Finals Week

It’s that dreaded time of year again. The time of year when everyone has the most work to do and the least amount of motivation to do it. Although I’d like to be able to write about how to avoid stress completely during finals week, I know that’s not realistic. However, even though you might be stressing about your cumulative final on Friday or your paper due at midnight, here are some tips that will help better prepare you to deal with the anxiety.

  • STOP pulling “all nighters” – No seriously, go to sleep. Depriving yourself of sleep (even when you’re taking Adderall) is damaging your ability to think clearly and make effective decisions. In a study done by Dr. Timothy Roehrs at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, results indicate that when comparing sleep-deprived subjects to fully awake subjects, the sleep-deprived subjects didn’t make reasonable decisions based on the task they were asked to perform. Sleep is also the time when your brain consolidates information and commits the important pieces into long-term memories. Without sleep, how are you going to remember all of the information for that history final you just crammed for?
  • Exercise – I know that many of you probably rolled your eyes when seeing this, and thought, “If I had more free time, don’t you think I would’ve already done that?” I understand completely. Nobody has time throughout these tough couple of weeks, but it’s all about making time. The exercise will allow the release of endorphins that will make you happier and reenergize you for more productive studying.
  • Complain (but only a little) – As you’ve probably come to realize at this point in your life, it never pays to hold in your emotions. If you’re really stressed out about your test and need someone to vent to, allot yourself a ten minute phone call with your friend or family member to get it off your chest. Once your not internalizing it anymore, you could allow time for more focused studying.
  • Organize – There is absolutely no way any work is getting done on a desk filled with papers and a backpack overflowing with a mixture of old and new sticky notes. When you first sit down to do your work, take the first 15 minutes to organize your life. Clean up the clutter and create a chronological list of things you have to do. It helps if the highest priority is at the top, but some people prefer to knock out all the smaller tasks first so the last thing they have to tackle is the larger projects. Whichever order you choose, checking off items from your list will make you feel extremely productive.
  • Eat right – While it might be easier to make those dinosaur nuggets you keep in your freezer for emergencies three nights in a row, it’s just not healthy. I know that it might be tempting to always take the easy way out and live off chips and candy for a week while you study, it’s necessary that your body gets the right food to fuel your brain. Try throwing in fruits and veggies as snacks to tie you over between meals. Also, try making meals with a protein and a carb in order to boost your energy level. Your body and mind will definitely thank you later.
  • Do something you love! – Lastly, make sure to do something you love. While studying and finishing your work is important, make sure to fit in a small amount of time to unwind. Listen to music, surf the web, catch up on an episode of your favorite show, etc. Keeping your sanity is crucial during this stressful time of year.

 

It might be easier to just mentally check-out of school work because break is pushed back another week this year, but always remember what Beyoncé once said, “Whenever I feel bad, I use that feeling to motivate me to work harder.”

By Courtney Rosser

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Feel Great

6 Ingredients Essential for Exam Week

Did you know our brains need a constant supply of glucose to function correctly? The glucose we need for better brain function, mood, and memory should come from good foods. With finals coming in hot, prepare your brain to the max by adding theses extra six foods into your meals this week!

  1. Spinach. This ingredient can prevent dementia, aging, and damage to your DNA. These leafy green veggies are also a good source of foliate and vitamin E.
  2. Avocado. These are one of the best source of omega 3 and omega 6 needed for a healthy body. Avocados will help to increase blood flow to brain and lower cholesterol. Added bonus, they have vitamin K!
  3. Dark Chocolate. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a treat that will improve cognitive function and memory. Consuming this delicious cocoa will also improve mood, and it is packed with antioxidants.
  4. Nuts. Almonds and walnuts especially are good for healthy nervous systems and brain function. They have B6 and vitamin E to protect your brain for the long run.
  5. Quinoa. This complex carbohydrate will keep you full while you test and is great for keeping the blood oxygenated. Quinoa is also a great source of iron and vitamin B. Plus its gluten free!
  6. Broccoli. This awesome veggie is a superfood for the whole body! It is rich in calcium, vitamin C, B, and lots of iron. Eating broccoli will also decrease your chances of catching any viruses during your finals week.

Good luck with all your finals, and don’t forget to feed your brain! Food for thought: “What you feed your mind determines your appetite.” –Tom Ziglar

By Sydney Hughes

Eat Smart · Feel Great · Nutrition · Student Life

5 Snacks to Power You Through Finals Week

Ah! Finals week. A week filled with endless papers, exams, and the occasional mental breakdown. As you start preparing for the end of the semester, it’s important to keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down (a girl can dream).  To do this, it’s important to fuel your body with brainpower snacks, so you can hit the books instead of hitting the wall. While sleep and exercise aren’t guaranteed things as finals week approaches, you can still be healthy and happy with these yummy brain boosting snacks that will keep your mind sharp and your stomach satisfied!


Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Satisfy your midnight stress snacking with this delicious peanut butter and banana sandwich. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, which can help your brain perform at its best ability, and bananas are a great source of potassium, which will boost your energy levels once you hit that 2AM slump. If you really want a treat, sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips, which have been known to aide concentration and boost your mood!

Trail Mix
Trail Mix, often labeled a “danger food” of snacking because it is high in calories, can be healthy, and it is great for your brain! Dried nuts and fruits, both high in protein, have been known to aid in memorization and concentration, and make your brain sharper and quicker, which can help when studying. To create a healthier, lower calorie mix, try to incorporate unsalted almonds, dried berries, and if you must, a small amount of dark chocolate.

Mixed Berries
A sweet treat that will pick you up when you want to give up, berries of all kinds, especially blueberries, are considered to be the #1 brain food.  They contain nutrients that have been shown to improve memory and learning, and even help produce new brain cells. Whether fresh or frozen, berries are a yummy, low calorie snack to stress eat when you want something sweet and need a good boost.

Avocado on Toast
A trending treat that is taking the health world by storm, avocado on toast has become a popular snack for many. While avocados may be fatty, they contain “healthy” fats that keep the brain cell membranes flexible, which keeps you energized and ready to hit those books. The fatty acids in avocado help strengthen brain muscle, which makes it easier to memorize information and study for longer periods of time. Spread mashed avocado on whole grain toast, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, add any other ingredients you like, and you have a simple but yummy study snack to help you score that A on the exam!

Coffee
Of course, we cannot forget this dearly beloved, which has gotten college students through finals weeks and exams for hundreds of years. Although this does not necessarily count as a “snack”, it is a classic concoction to help you get through those all-nighters. Coffee is great for improving thought processes and helps repair memory loss so you will remember those anthropology terms you learned in the wee hours of the morning before the exam. Just remember to skip the high-calorie sugar laden drinks with whipped cream and flavor shots, because the only thing those will do is pack on the pounds and make your brain crash when you need it most.

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart

4 Smoothies to Boost Your Brain

As the cold weather nears, it’s important to keep your mind and your body healthy. This means exercising, getting enough sleep, and incorporating well-balanced meals into your diet. One of the biggest mistakes students make is not eating breakfast, a BIG no-no! Whether you aren’t hungry or don’t have time to grab breakfast, research has shown that eating breakfast boosts your metabolism, increases concentration, and even improves your grades in the long run. Here are some simple smoothie recipes to make in the mornings for a quick and easy breakfast.

Brain Booster Trio Smoothie

With the brain booster trio, you get a smoothie that tastes as good as it looks. While sipping the yummy flavors of blueberry, bananas, and almonds, you are simultaneously protecting your brain cells, boosting memory and coordination, and getting a yummy breakfast that will help jumpstart your metabolism and get your day off on the right foot.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 of a medium frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 5 unsalted whole almonds
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey

Directions: 

  • Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth, or about 1 to 2 minutes

Pomegranate and Strawberry Smoothie

The pomegranate and strawberry smoothie is especially good for boosting fiber intake, which affects the glucose levels in your brain. Boosting glucose levels has shown an increase in energy and concentration. With the yummy combination of flavors, this smoothie gives you a sweet treat that is low-calorie and chock full of good antioxidants to boost your brain power.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tsp. raw honey
  • 3/4 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseed oil
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:

  • Whisk pomegranate juice and honey in a small cup to dissolve the honey completely
  • Combine the strawberries, yogurt, oil, ice cubes, and pomegranate mixture in a blender
  • Process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thick and smooth. Pour into a glass

Banana and Coconut Power Smoothie

If you close your eyes while drinking this smoothie, it’s almost like your tanning on a beach in some tropical island far away from all the stress that is college (almost, though we wish it were true!) This smoothie—packed with the protein from bananas, a coconut, and a scoop of protein powder—will have you determined and ready to take on the hectic day ahead of you. Coconut is low in sugar and high in fiber and vitamins, which will provide long lasting energy and even help with memory retention. To add an extra boost of delicious protein, add a tablespoon (or two) of peanut butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (hemp almond, rice, or organic 1% cow’s milk)
  • 1 frozen banana, slightly thawed
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend well

“Happy, Healthy Self” Smoothie

This smoothie is what I dub the “happy, healthy self smoothie” because it affects your emotions, motivation, and pleasure senses in your body. This smoothie is great if you have a long day ahead of you and know you need to focus—something all of us will be experiencing with finals coming up in a couple of weeks. The key ingredient in this recipe is milk, because it provides a healthy amount of protein to boost dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for making you feel happy and motivated. An added benefit? This smoothie keeps your blood sugar level steady and gives you a small amount of caffeine to help “kick start” your morning!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup small banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (vanilla or plain)
  • 1 double shot (approximately 1/2 cup) organic espresso
  • 1 serving whey protein powder (vanilla)

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients except the protein powder in a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth
  • Add the protein powder and lightly blend until incorporated

By Annie O’Sullivan

Blog

Final’s Stress Busters: Snacks to Reduce Your Stress Studying for Finals

It’s that time of year again…FINAL SEASON! We all know what that means…stress eating. But why do we stress eat? Glad you asked. We CRAVE cortisol! What the heck is that? Cortisol is our stress hormone. When we are feeling stressed to the max enormous amounts of cortisol rushes through our body. Because of this… Continue reading Final’s Stress Busters: Snacks to Reduce Your Stress Studying for Finals