Managing stress in the final weeks of the semester

Friday, April 28, 2023 Managing stress in the final weeks of the semester

A student stresses over work on the table in front of them

written by Mariah Johnson, counselor for Counseling & Psychological Services

The final weeks of the semester can bring a mixture of emotions, from excitement about getting to the end of the semester to anxiety related to final exams and projects. These final weeks can be an important time to prioritize stress management and self-care. Here are some tips for managing stress in the final weeks of the semester.

Maintain a Routine

The final weeks of the semester can cause your schedule to be a little chaotic as you navigate deadlines, potentially change your study schedule to gear up for finals week, prepare for your summer plans, and more. It is important to try to maintain consistency with the things that are in your control, including your sleep routine, self-care activities, and study habits. Consider how to be most effective with your time in the final three weeks.

Focus on small steps

The end of the semester can feel overwhelming as you look at the many tasks left to complete in a short amount of time. Try to break down these tasks into smaller steps, day by day, class by class.

Prioritize Self-Care

Compromising self-care this time of year can be one of the first things students think of to “save time” to put towards academic work, but without taking time to care for yourself, you risk the chance of burnout and fatigue. Self-care doesn’t need to be time-consuming to be effective. Think of small coping skills that are most helpful and use them consistently. Take breaks while studying, take time to engage in a hobby you enjoy, move your body, and focus on good nutrition and sleep.

Reality-based language and positive self-talk

Anxiety and worry can quickly lead to negative self-talk this time of year. Be proactive in increasing reality-based language and positive self-talk. This isn’t always about simply increasing “positivity,” but striking a balance in understanding that the final few weeks of the semester can be overwhelming. Try focusing on strengths and affirmations. An example would be “This time of the year can be stressful, but I have gotten through similar stress before and succeeded. I may be overwhelmed, but I am capable.”

Consider your environment

Consider who you are surrounding yourself with and where you are choosing to spend your time. Spend time with people who are supportive and encourage you. It can be good to consider where you are spending your time, such as changing up where you study when you notice decreased motivation. Try a new study spot on campus, study with a friend, or tidy up your space to increase your ability to focus on the task at hand.

Use supports

Consider using support from friends, peers, and family. Do you need an accountability buddy to help focus on studying or completing tasks? Do you need encouragement or humor from a friend? Do you need support from your family? Consider how to connect with others. You are not alone.

If you are in need of support, CAPS is here. Call (402) 472-7450 to schedule an appointment or to access our on-call counselor, available 24/7. More information is available at

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