Skip to content

Managing Stress and Anxiety During College Finals 

Harmony Bay Wellness

The time for finals is very stressful for most college students as there is so much depending on their results. This can lead to a great deal of stress and anxiety, which can end up negatively impacting your ability to take your finals. That is why it is crucial to learn how to manage your stress and anxiety so that you can do your best and feel proud of your results. 

In this article, we will discuss some practical strategies to reduce college final stress and anxiety. 

Signs of Stress and Anxiety 

Stress and anxiety are things that most people will experience at some point in their life. It is quite normal for college students to experience these feelings, especially during crucial times like finals. 

People often underestimate the impact of stress and anxiety, as both of these things can impact you physically, mentally, and behaviorally. Depending on how severe your symptoms are and how long they go on, this can significantly impact your ability to do your best. Here are some examples of symptoms related to stress and anxiety: 

  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Insomnia 
  • Fatigue 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Difficulty remembering 
  • Moodiness 
  • Irritability 
  • Headaches 
  • Crying 
  • Over or under-eating 

Stress Vs. Anxiety 

Even though stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, these terms do not necessarily mean the same thing. You can experience one or the other or both at the same time if you are facing your college finals. 

Stress is an emotional response you may experience when there is any kind of demand on your mental or physical abilities. For instance, you may feel stressed if you are facing a tight deadline or have a large amount of work to do. 

On the other hand, anxiety is something that could be purely mental or triggered by an event or scenario. It is the feeling of fear, unease, or worry, whether it is rational or irrational. 

Even though stress and anxiety are both serious, anxiety tends to be a bit more severe and can come with more severe side effects. For instance, those with severe anxiety may also get panic attacks during finals. 

Effective Coping Strategies For College Students 

Even though college finals are stressful, that doesn’t mean you have to give in to the stress and anxiety. There are plenty of effective coping strategies students can use to regulate their feelings and get better results. 

Prioritize Self-Care 

It is a natural response for college students to start neglecting their mental and physical health during stressful times like finals. The reality is that this is not going to make things better; it is only going to exacerbate the symptoms of stress and anxiety. 

You still want to set aside time for yourself so that you are still getting everything you need. Make sure you are still eating three meals a day and getting adequate sleep at night instead of studying through all of your free time. You should also continue to make time for breaks and enjoyable activities even if you have a large workload. 

Keep in mind that how well you do on your finals is not only dependent on what you have learned, it is also dependent on your state of mind. If you are incredibly stressed, it won’t matter how much you have studied. 

Seek Support 

Going through finals is not something you have to do alone or should do alone. If you are feeling the effects of stress and anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to other college students and friends who are probably experiencing the same thing. Having people to talk to will be invaluable in helping you not to feel isolated. 

You could also reach out to family who may be able to provide encouragement and a support system. There are also plenty of support options on college campuses, from speaking with your professors to utilizing campus counseling services. 

Speak With a Therapist 

As important as it is to have a support system, speaking with a professional can also come with its own benefits. Having individual sessions with a therapist can help you get down to the bottom of why you are feeling the way that you do. They can also provide a voice of reason and help you find ways of managing stress and anxiety. 

Spend Time Outdoors 

Nature is incredibly healing and has a way of taking you outside of your worries. When you are preparing for college finals, try to prioritize spending time outside as a form of self-care. You can do this by taking walks during your breaks, studying outside, or making time for outdoor activities. 

Set Small Goals 

Something that often triggers stress and anxiety during college finals is feeling overwhelmed with work. To avoid this problem, you should try to divide what you need to do into small and actionable goals. Breaking down your responsibilities into small goals will help you feel organized, have a strategy, and feel accomplished as you complete your work. 

College Stress and Anxiety: How to Set Yourself Up For Success  

Aside from using stress and anxiety coping methods, there are other things you can do to set yourself up for success during your time at college. Finals can feel very stressful, but there are many different times when you will still battle feelings of stress and anxiety.  

Find Your Tribe 

It isn’t enough to have a friend group at college; you need to find people who can be your support system. Look for friends who you can open up and discuss your mental health with. They should be encouraging and have the ability to push you in the right direction if you need to be held accountable.


Reduce Your Responsibilities  

Any time you have important tests or exams coming up in college, you need to reduce what you have to do every day. Examine your responsibilities and cut back on certain areas so that you have time to address the most essential things in your life. 

Create a Calm Atmosphere 

Your living situation can have a huge impact on your mental health, especially during stressful times. If you are preparing for finals or other college exams, it is crucial that you have a calm atmosphere where you can focus on studying. You can prioritize this by keeping your space clean, limiting visitors, and scheduling quiet times if you have roommates. 

Have Realistic Expectations 

During college, you want to have realistic expectations so that you aren’t setting yourself up for disappointment. Aim for realistic goals and have grace with yourself even when you fall short of those aspirations. 

Take Time to Reflect 

Part of achieving better mental health is also taking time to reflect on the things that are causing you stress and anxiety. After going through finals or exams, you always want to take time to reflect on how things went, how you could have handled things differently, and how you want to handle things in the future. 


College finals are a stressful time for most college students, but there are several ways of coping with these feelings and taking back control of your mental health. Some strategies you can use include practicing self-care, reaching out to others, seeing a therapist, and spending time in nature. 

Do you want to speak with a therapist about situations that are triggering your stress or anxiety? Contact us today at Harmony Bay Wellness to get help now. 

Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.