by Bailey Ly
Caring for yourself and giving yourself time to destress is one of the most important aspects of college life. Finals have arrived and sometimes it can be hard to take the time to care for yourself. I spoke with Billie Amatus-Salaam from the Center for Health Education & Wellness to learn some important tips for finals week and self- care in order to get the best results on your final exams.
Students usually come to a point where they are pressed for time with studying and finishing up assignments, and it’s easy to get lost in the day and start stressing about the things that need to get done. Billie’s first tip is to sit down and manage your time before you start studying. “Take a look at your schedule and plan out your study times, arranging it by priority.” This planning might take 15 minutes, but in the long run, it will be the biggest help because you spend less time worrying and figuring things out while you study. Make sure to be realistic with your time and put in breaks to eat and relieve stress.
Eating & Sleeping
Your performance when you haven’t eaten or slept isn’t going to be at the level you need it to be to perform at your best during exams. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but some students get lost in their studies and forget to eat and sleep.
Before you study, make sure to prepare some snacks to bring with you or pop over to the P.O.D. for some food. Set notifications or write in your planner when to eat, so you are reminded. “Stress can cause you to crave more comfort food which isn’t nutrient-dense, meaning there’s little fiber, protein, and vitamins,” Billie mentions. Doing whatever you can to eat more foods, like fruits and veggies, is best for your body.
You may think that a couple more hours of studying and less time sleeping is better for you but it’s not. Lack of sleep will affect your mood, magnify your stress, and alter your quality of work. Billie informs us that the ideal amount of sleep for adults is 7 to 9 hours. “This amount is ideal for your body and brain to perform at its best.” Sleep is the time where the body is recovering and going multiple days without sleeping is not giving your brain and body time to recover.
Be kind to yourself
Throughout this week make sure to take frequent breaks and be kind to yourself.
Do things you enjoy that relax you, rather it is practicing skincare, yoga, or exercising. Find things to build into your schedule instead of going out of your way. For example, putting on a face mask before you take a shower, stopping by the TRECS for 20 minutes before your next class, or checking out the destress events that the library has this week.
Pay attention to your emotional state, this helps you calm down and ease anxious thoughts.
Taking a minute to focus on something simple is always beneficial. Billie adds, “It doesn’t have to be a long break, five minutes is better than nothing.” You can take this time to meditate, a couple of minutes of breathing exercises can make you less anxious. There are also apps you can download that have quick breathing exercises you can do while studying or walking. Getaway for a few seconds and take a walk outdoors. These things improve moods and rest your mind.
Try to avoid comparing yourself to others and don’t let the pressure of anyone else get to you, this just creates another thing to stress about. Keep in mind that we do the best we can every day. Stay positive by avoiding doubt, reaching out to friends, sharing words of encouragement, venting, and maintaining positive social connections.
Finals can be rough and go by so fast. You may think studying trumps everything else but caring for yourself is more important. Take time to destress, it’s all about finding what works for you. Eat frequently to feed your body and mind and no all-nighters. Believe in yourself and stay positive!
Bailey Ly is a sophomore majoring in public relations with a minor in business administration. She is the undergraduate public relations intern for Student Life Communications. Bailey is also the marketing chair for Campus Events Board Arts and Culture. She loves cooking and learning about new cultures.