Staying Well Is Key to Finals Week Success

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With finals approaching, staying healthy and mentally sharp is a key assignment for students.

Staff at the Safety, Environment, and Education (SEE) Center offer these basic tips for staying well as the semester comes to a close:

Stay Healthy

Although it is tempting to binge on junk food while hitting the books, a body can only handle so much sugar and grease. The SEE Center recommends putting the candy and fast food down and opting for healthier substitutes like string cheese, fresh fruit, and trail mix.

But it is not just what you eat that is important; it’s what you drink, too. The SEE Center recommends staying away from sugary coffee beverages and sticking to water for those long nights at the library.

Avoid the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this year’s flu season is off to an early start and may be worse than expected.

To minimize the risk of contracting or transmitting colds and seasonal flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If a tissue is not available, cough into your shirt sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Wash your hands before eating.
  • Do not share food or drink with others.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.

Flu shots are not given at the Student Health Center, but are available at doctor’s offices, some drugstores and some grocery story pharmacy departments. For more information about the flu shot, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/.

Sleep Well

Sleep can be the last thing on a student’s mind during finals, but the SEE Center says it is important to get a restful night’s sleep, especially the night before a final exam.

To rest well, students should avoid eating or drinking large amounts before sleeping and establish a consistent “wind down” bedtime routine, which may include dimming the lights and doing deep breathing exercises.

And while it may be tempting to write a term paper in the coziness of bed, the bed should be reserved for sleeping. The brain will begin to recognize the bed is a place for sleep, and this will help you fall asleep faster.

Reduce Anxiety

The best way to reduce test-taking anxiety is to be well prepared.

Here are some tips from the SEE Center:

  • Do not try to cram a semester’s worth of information into one night. Try to study some each day before a final.
  • When the exam is first handed out, write down important facts, formulas, definitions, and keywords in the margin. This way there are no worries about a drawing a blank mid-exam.
  • Read the instructions slowly and carefully, and remember to breathe. Realize you don’t have to get every question right to do well on the exam.

The SEE Center is a division of Student Life. Center representatives will be in Hodges Library from noon to 2:00 p.m. on December 6 and 7 and from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on December 10, 11, and 12 to distribute stress balls and information on how to maintain wellness as a part of UT Libraries “De-Stress for Success” events.

Visit seecenter.utk.edu for more information.

C O N T A C T :

Christine Copelan (974-2225, ccopela7@utk.edu)

Amy Blakely (974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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