MURRAY, Ky. — As students at Murray State University prepare for finals week, University Counseling Services is offering advice and resources to help students cope with the stress of another semester coming to a close.

“It’s important to remember to eat, sleep and exercise during finals week,” said Dr. Angie Trzepacz, director of University Counseling Services. “If you are tired or hungry, you won’t perform as well on your exams and won’t be able to focus when you study.”

Throughout finals week, which takes place Dec. 2–8, the Testing Center at Murray State is sponsoring Coloring Days in the front lobby of the Oakley Applied Science Building. Coloring pages with crayons and markers will be provided as a creative outlet for students to relax and relieve stress.

Additional ways to cope with stress throughout the year include practicing mindfulness or meditation, enjoying nature, eating healthy foods, spending time with animals, exercising, writing down positive affirmations, performing random acts of kindness, listening to music, reading, taking a bath, watching funny videos and more.

“Remember to take a few deep breaths, focus on the positive and remind yourself that you can do this,” Trzepacz said.

In addition to maintaining personal self-care, University Counseling Services advises students to watch for possible signs that their peers are having difficulty coping for any reason. Signs of distress include but are not limited to a dramatic decline in academic performance or classroom attendance, excessive sleeping or social isolation, extreme emotional displays, shifting physical appearances and paranoid or suicidal statements.

In concerning situations, Trzepacz recommends referring students to the University’s Counseling Center. If appropriate, offer to walk them to the center’s location in suite 104 of the Oakley Applied Science Building and follow up with them again afterward.

“Counseling services can help with a variety of issues and anyone is welcome to come for a consultation,” Trzepacz said. “We can provide long-term services for students who have significant mental health concerns, but we are also happy to meet with students who just need one or two sessions to get some advice or support on how to handle issues such as homesickness, stress or feeling overwhelmed.”

Services provided through the Counseling Center at Murray State are free and confidential. On-call counselors are available to speak with walk-in clients Monday through Friday whenever the University is open. Please stop by between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. An appointment is not required.

For more information about counseling services at Murray State, please visit http://bit.ly/2zMJsW1 or call the office at 270-809-6851.