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Campus Overload
Posted at 08:38 AM ET, 12/02/2011

Cute puppies, dance parties and stress-busting ideas for finals season


It’s that time of year when many college students up their caffeine intake, occupy libraries and prepare for final exams. So what can students do to keep their stress levels in check?

Here are a bunch of ideas from colleges across the country (and you can share your tips in the comments section or on Twitter using the hashtag #FinalStress):

1) Cuddle up with an abandoned puppy: This week a bunch of puppies and therapy dogs visited a handful of law schools in the D.C. region, and cut through the palpable stress hanging over the campuses. If you want instant stress relief, just look through the photos below or watch a video of 15 puppies visiting the George Mason University School of Law on Thursday.

2) Have a silent dance party in the library: At 11 p.m. on a reading day before finals, students at Carleton College in Minnesota gather on the first-floor of the library, put in their earbuds and press play on an hour-long playlist for a “silent dance party.”

3) Volunteer: Get a reality check and compare your stress with that of soldiers fighting overseas, low-income parents struggling to care for their children, laid-off workers, patients dealing with serious illnesses and others facing truly high-stress situations. Take a couple of hours to help someone dealing with even more stress than you.

4) Crank up some Glee and sing your heart out: Or holiday songs. Or Lady Gaga. Or whatever makes you happy. Last year Georgetown Law students rocked out with a chaplain and his guitar to “Twist and Shout” and “The Rainbow Connection.”

5) Participate in a flash mob: And it doesn’t have to be a perfectly choreographed mob. Last year, Central Michigan University students gathered in the library atrium to dance, crowd-surf and throw confetti. In 2008, hundreds of University of Virginia students spontaneously gathered outside the library in goofy hats. (Check out this blog post for ideas and videos.)

6) Take a break from Facebook: Do you really need to see all of your friends’ status updates that are likely some variation of, “OMG, I hate finals so much”? Instead of virtually checking in, visit your friends in person or give them a call.

7) Spend sone time in down-dog and child’s pose: Check your campus rec center’s schedule for yoga classes or pull up a virtual session on You Tube.

8) Sit quietly and meditate: Kick off your shoes, sit in a quiet space, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Some colleges even organize meditation sessions during finals.

9) Go snowboarding or lunch-room-tray sledding: When even a little bit of snow piles up at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., some students take their snowboards to a small hill near the admission center.

10) Exercise: Go for a long walk or short jog. Sign up for a Zumba dance class. Lift weights. Watch your favorite sitcom while on the elliptical. Take the long way to the library.

11) Eat healthy: Avoid the temptation of pizza, chips and high-calorie soda by stocking your dorm fridge with hard-boiled eggs, carrots, popcorn and apples. And drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.

12) Read something other than a textbook: Pick up a novel at the library. Read a magazine or your daily newspaper.

13) Check out all the free events your school has likely planned: My inbox has filled with e-mails from colleges advertising their “stress free zones” and other finals week activities.

What other tips do you have? Please share them in the comments section below or on Twitter, using the hashtag #FinalStress.

By  |  08:38 AM ET, 12/02/2011

 
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