Monday, December 13, 2010

Mantor Monday - Finals Week

Got test anxiety?
Let's face it, finals week can be stressful. But there are ways to reduce your stress levels and boost your test performance. These little pick-me-ups can help you any time you're feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.

1. Breathe.
When we are stressed, we tend to breathe shallowly. Our chest, back, and shoulder muscles contract with tension. Bring your attention to your body for a moment: are your shoulders hunched up, rising towards your ears? Is your neck tight? Does it feel like you have a knot in your chest or back? That's tension. Release the tension by consciously relaxing those constricted muscles. Now take a few slow, deep breaths. Really fill your lungs, and then slowly let the air back out. Pause for a second when your lungs are completely empty, and then take another slow, deep breath. You're not only relaxing your muscles with this exercise, you are flooding your brain with oxygen - brain fuel!

2. Sleep. Staying up all night to study is probably not going to help you in the long run. Studies show that your brain operates much better after a few hours sleep.
Performance wise, you are better off going to sleep at your normal time, and getting up early to do that last minute cramming.

3. Eat.
Healthy, whole foods will boost your metabolism AND your brainpower. Nuts are a great choice - they contain essential fatty acids known to nourish the brain. Fruit is another good choice.
Try to avoid over-caffienating while you study. It will interfere with your sleep, and make you jittery.
Mantor library wants to feed your brain: we will be offering free healthy snacks in the browsing room Monday - Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. The snacks are sponsored by the On Our Minds Reading Program.

4. Cross the Midline.
Right before a test, try doing an activity that forces both hemispheres of your brain to communicate. It only takes a minute, and it increases mental acuity! Here's a couple of good ones:
1. Standing twist: stand with your feet spread and your arms extended out to your sides. Twist your body while bending, and touch the opposite knee, ankle, or foot, depending on how flexible you are. Then switch sides. Repeat a few times.

2. Superman: Lay on your stomach. Raise your left arm and stretch it out in front of you while you simultaneously raise your right leg. Hold, and try to really stretch in opposite directions through your arm and leg. Lower, and repeat with right arm and left leg. Then try both arms and both legs - Superman!

There: now you're destressed and ready to test. Come on in for study, for snacks, and for moral support - we're here for you!

Library hours for finals week are as follows:
Monday - Wednesday: 7:45 - 11:00pm.
Thursday - 7:45-7:00pm*
Friday - 7:45-4:30pm

*If finals must be held on Friday because of bad weather, the library will remain open until 11pm on Thursday night.

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