Managing End-of-Semester Stress

It’s normal to feel more stressed than usual at this time of year.

The good news is that there’s actually a lot you can do to help keep your stress in check so you can function at your best.

Tips for managing stress

  • Prioritize self-care: Try to get enough sleep, eat well, and get in some exercise. Make time to connect with others. Avoid alcohol, since it can decrease your focus, energy, and sleep quality.  
  • Take study breaks: Taking purposeful breaks from studying (unfortunately, social media doesn’t count) refreshes your brain and body, and increases energy, productivity, and ability to focus.  
  • Spend time in nature: Research shows that even short amounts of time in nature help reduce stress, boost feelings of happiness, and improve your cognitive ability.
  • Try five-minute stress-busters: Learn how deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization can relieve stress within minutes.  
  • Meditate: Even 2‒5 minutes of meditation can calm your mind and help you feel more focused and relaxed. Try these guided meditations, or attend a Let's Meditate session via Zoom (offered Monday-Friday). For more information and guided meditations, visit our Meditation page
  • Press pause: Check out Press Pause (developed by MTV and the Jed Foundation) for short videos, words of advice from other college students, and tools to help reduce anxiety, worry, and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
  • Other ideas: Visit our Coping During COVID-19 page for more well-being resources, and sign up to receive our Cornell Quaranzine newsletter for weekly inspiration delivered to your inbox

Daily CAPS-led workshops

Our CAPS counselors are hosting skills-based workshops every day, Monday‒Friday via Zoom on topics such as time management, self-compassion, procrastination, and using mindfulness to manage anxiety. Bios of CAPS staff facilitators are listed next to each workshop. Workshops are free and open to all students.

Academic support 

The Learning Strategies Center can help you figure out how and what to study when preparing for final projects and exams, including putting together a time management "homestretch calendar" to get yourself organized. 

Be sure to speak with your academic advisors or professors if you need extra help, or anticipate difficulty meeting deadlines.

If you're struggling, help is available

Here are some places to start:

  • Call us 24/7 (607-255-5155) to speak with a licensed therapist from ProtoCall, our on-call support team of mental health professionals.
  • Drop in to a "Let's Talk" session to speak informally with a Cornell Health counselor. It's free, confidential, and available daily Monday–Friday. 
  • Those living in university housing can connect with your residential staff for support.
  • 24/7 support is also available through these local and national hotlines and text lines, with options especially for students of color and LGBTQ students.
  • More resources for emotional, academic, and social support are available on Mental Health at Cornell.