It’s becoming increasingly common for young adults around the world to abuse stimulants to stay awake to study so they can get the grades and accolades to get into a top graduate school or job. On college campuses, you’ll find students abusing prescription drugs that are meant to manage attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) so they can stay awake later and study longer. The pressure to compete and get into the best schools can drive someone who would normally never consider abusing a substance into a desperate pattern of trying to maximize their school performance. The results? A substance abuse problem.
You may be recovering from abusing stimulants and heading into finals week yourself. Now you may find yourself wondering how you will get through this trying time without the use of prescription drugs or caffeine binges. The most important thing to do as you go into finals is to take care of yourself, both beforehand and while you navigate all the tests and research papers. Here’s how.
Lean on Your Support
Whoever your support person is, whether it’s family or someone from a support group such as a sponsor, give them a heads up that major stressors are coming up for you and you are likely going to have to lean on them for support. You might even want to go ahead and schedule some time to get that extra support by making lunch dates, setting up meetings, or planning to spend an extra hour chatting after your support group because you know you need the extra help. Don’t try to do it alone.
Study Groups Can Help
If you already feel that you are going to have a problem studying for exams, join or form a study group of sober friends to make sure you’re held accountable. It’s a lot easier to slip into old patterns of substance abuse when you’re alone. Ideally, these will be other people in recovery or people who are aware of your history and won’t try to tempt you into abusing any substances. Hopefully, you haven’t put off your classwork all semester in the hopes of cramming it all in at the end before your test so you don’t need to pull those long study sessions or all-nighters.
Take a Break
As counterproductive as it may seem, sometimes you have to take a break to be productive again. If you are too tired from so much studying, you may simply be going through the motions. If your eyes are crossing and you’re nodding off, you probably won’t remember whatever it is you are trying to study. At that point, it’s better just to take a break and give your mind a rest so you can come back fresh. Do something fun where you don’t have to think so much. Listen to music, put on a good comedy, or take a short nap. You can come back with your mind refreshed and ready to absorb more knowledge.
Give Yourself the Right Fuel
What’s the typical diet of a student studying for finals? Raise your hand if you’re thinking Red Bull and coffee for the caffeine and pizza or chicken wings. If you’ve ever experienced finals week, you’ve probably been there and done that. If that’s your typical diet while studying, you need to start eating healthier for long-term benefits to both your mind and body. If you have been eating healthy, now is not the time to break from routine and fuel yourself with junk food or drink tons of caffeine to stay awake all night. All that is going to do is make you feel terrible. If you need to change your eating habits, finals week is not the best time to start a new diet or make a major lifestyle change; for now, try to eat some vegetables and fruits and avoid fast food as much as you can.
Don’t Take a Break from Exercise
It’s so tempting to say you are too busy for the regular things in your routine, particularly exercise. However, exercise is a great way to relieve stress and gain focus, so it’s important not to skimp on exercising during finals. You can reduce the time you spend exercising if you’re one of those people who like to exercise an hour or more a day. Taking even 20 minutes a day to move your body or engage in some kind of milder exercise such as yoga can help relieve your stress. If you practice meditation, keep doing it during finals week. If you haven’t done it before, now’s a good time to start, even if just for 10 minutes a day. Squeeze it in for the sake of your sanity. Try to keep your daily routines as stable as possible despite the daunting challenge of finals. You can do this.
While college campuses may be known for partying hard and consuming alcohol and drugs for recreational purposes, that’s not the only dangerous form of substance abuse that you need to look out for. Many students abuse prescription ADHD medications to stay awake longer and perform better in school. You may have the best of intentions when you pop an Adderall during finals week, but it’s still substance abuse. When you’re in recovery, finals week can be a daunting challenge; with the proper preparation and support, you can get through it. Everlast Recovery Center can help you learn different ways to get through those times that challenge our recovery process and tempt us into relapse. Our Riverside, CA facility offers relaxing features like nature walks and yoga, along with more creative alternatives such as art therapy in conjunction with counseling. You’ll feel at home with our professional staff and low patient-to-staff ratios. Let us help you today. Call (866) 338-6925.