This week we welcome back guest writer Briana Borgolini to talk about how to get through exams and keep your mental health and personal well-being on track by continuing your self-care!
As relieving as it can be to know that the end of the semester is near (and a break is inevitably impending), it can also be a very hectic and stressful time as finals are approaching. The end of the semester can sneak up on many students, and the realization that there is a lot to do in a relatively short period of time can be overwhelming. It can be all too easy to let self-care fall to the side when things feel so busy, but there are certain things that are very beneficial to make time for.
Visualize your Time
Now that you’ve reached the final weeks of the semester, it is probably time to sit down and plan out exactly what needs to be done, and how much time you have to do it (if you haven’t already). More than likely, there is more to do than you think, and getting ahead of it will help you to reduce your stress levels through such a hectic time of year! Regardless of how you typically manage your work, it is a good idea to visualize how your time will break down for the remainder of the semester so that you have a realistic picture of what needs to be done. Google calendar or Outlook can work great for this, as it is easy to navigate between a big-picture monthly view and an hourly daily view.
Plan Specific Times off
It is not possible for anyone to work all hours of the day, and trying to do so will only lead to stress and burnout! Once you have a break down of how much time you have to get the remainder of your work or studying done, be sure to figure out how to fit in some time off to relax. Failing to plan for specific time off makes it all too easy to avoid taking time off at all, as it becomes easy to drag your work out into all hours of the day. If you can see that you have time built in to relax, you are more likely to make efficient use of your working time so it does not bleed into your down-time.
Find a Productive Space
For many, the ability to focus and be productive can be tied to your environment. In order to maximize your productivity (and keep yourself sane), take some time to consider what types of environments are best for you to get work done in. If the law library is stressful for you, go elsewhere and don’t feel pressured to study there. If home doesn’t work for you because it’s noisy, or you have to share your space, make sure you plan times to get out of the house so you can maximize your productivity. If you can find a comfortable space, it will not only make your work more enjoyable during this hectic time, but may also allow you to be more efficient!
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
If you don’t get enough sleep, all of the hours you spend studying will be significantly less effective. Not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your mood, health and memory – all things that you need to be in good working condition as you navigate the end of the semester! No matter how much you feel like you have to do, giving up sleep is not the answer. When you make your study schedule, be sure that you are planning in reasonable amounts of sleep when you need it. If you’re a night owl, don’t plan to wake up too early, and, if you’re an early bird, make sure you plan to get to sleep at a decent hour.
Don’t Skip the Gym
The end of the semester is very stressful, and skipping out on the exercise will only give you one less way to combat stress. Exercise can be incredibly useful in clearing your head during busy times, and can combat stress by releasing endorphins. Even if you can only fit in short workouts a couple of times per week, try your best to keep yourself moving during these last few weeks of the semester. If it helps you feel better about taking time away from the books, take an outline or notes with you, and choose a form of exercise you can do while reading them, like an elliptical or bike.
Put in the Effort to Eat Well
Along with sleep and exercise, eating well is another crucial part of keeping yourself healthy and happy during such a busy time. Again, making time for this goes back to making a realistic plan and knowing your calendar – so be sure to schedule in time for what you need! If you feel much better when you cook your own meals, you will need to plan in enough time to do that. Consider batching your meals or meal prepping to reduce the amount of time you need to spend cooking and cleaning up. If you know that you will not be able to cook or you don’t know how, make sure you know where you can buy healthy and affordable meals.
Don’t be too Hard on yourself
Most importantly, be sure that you are not too hard on yourself during this time period. It can feel like there is a lot of pressure towards the end of the semester, and it can be easy to beat yourself up over imperfect performances. Try not to hold yourself to unrealistic standards, and accept that some things will not go according to plan.
The last few weeks of the semester can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you can make this time a bit easier by planning time to take care of yourself.