The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

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The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

Finals Week Self-Care Guide

A five-step guide to prioritizing your mental health during finals.
Photo taken from Unsplash.

We’ve all been there. It’s 11:50 p.m. on an April or May night, and you have a paper due in ten minutes. You’re working your psycho-speed fingers across your keyboard to make the word count, submit the half-decent thing you call a paper, and go to bed. 

It’s now just a few weeks before finals, and you’re wondering how you’re possibly going to survive the treacherous life-or-death week of exam after exam, especially when you can barely make it as a college student on any other ordinary week. 

The truth, coming from someone who has a solid first year of finals, to get through it you just have to get through it. But it can be more manageable if you stay on top of your self-care!

Here is a list of things my friends and I learned during finals week last year. So, dive in and come ride the crazy, final train with me; we’re all in this together, and you’re not alone. Listen to these tips and you will not only survive but also keep your sanity intact through it all.

1. take breaks. I cannot stress this enough. You deserve it

It’s so easy to go through your to-do list, studying for class after class until you are exhausted and haven’t eaten. On top of that, your brain is so overloaded that you forget everything you spent so much time learning; we’re human, and our brains can only learn so much information at once. Taking breaks could be something as simple as getting up to stretch your legs, finding a new study location for a change of scenery, walking outside for some fresh air, or, let’s admit it, scrolling socials for a few minutes to escape reality.

2. Listen to your favorite podcast or playlist. This can help soothe your mind and allow your brain time to relax with something you enjoy

So many studies have proved that listening to music eases the mind in times of distress. Plus, who doesn’t love listening to their favorite playlist! Especially now that Spotify wrapped has become so popular, you can listen to all of your top artists in one playlist. Even if you just listen to one song, this will help you take your mind off of things. The same goes for the podcast; hearing your favorite influencer can increase serotonin and dopamine levels and overall make you feel in an airier mood. 

3. Working out. It not only helps with your physical health but also your mental health

Don’t get so wrapped up in studying for finals that you miss out on doing something that you love. Even if you just dedicate yourself to a 30-minute workout (that could be as simple as a walk around campus,) you will feel instant relief and your mood will increase. Youwill thank yourself later when you can recall at least one thing you enjoyed about your day, making time for yourself by working out. 

4. Call a loved one. They’d probably appreciate hearing from you, and it will make you feel better as well

This loved one could be anyone: friend, significant other, parent, grandparent, cousin, sibling, it doesn’t matter. Calling someone who you know always lightens your mood or who you can vent to during this hectic time is crucial and can be so beneficial. Plus, they can catch you up on their life as well, and you’ll end the conversation feeling less stressed after being able to confide in a trusted person. 

5. Do your daily self-care routine. This one is simple, but coming from someone who thrives off of her self-care routine, it is game-changing

Think about it. When we feel better, we can perform better and feel more capable of taking on the day! If you’re sitting at your desk fighting with the urge to close your eyes after studying for hours, it’s probably time to change things up. For me, I love doing my skincare. Having a freshly washed and moisturized face always seems to make me feel more refreshed, and I am usually ready to continue with my schoolwork afterward. Rotting away at your desk never does you any good. Do your routine, or start one today! You deserve it. You will thank yourself later. 

If you want some tips from others, here are some self-care tips I received from friends who are also riding this crazy train:
  • Knit/Crochet (if that interests you)
  • Read a chapter of your favorite book
  • Watch an episode of your favorite show
  • Spend time with friends and family and surround yourself with positive people

At the end of the day, finals are only one week, and self-care is forever. Remember that no paper, exam, or project is worth your mental health. In the end, you will be exactly where you need to be. Understandably, as college students, it’s hard to make time for ourselves with never-ending due dates and alerts about graded material that give us mini heart attacks. 

Especially during this upcoming week, check in with yourself. Try one of these tips, or something completely different if you know of other things that help you. It’s all about knowing yourself, what you’re capable of doing, and when you need a break. 

Self-care is not selfish and doesn’t make you a bad student. The balance you find between the chaos during this crazy season and doing things you love is crucial for surviving finals with good mental health and having a happy send-off for winter break! 

If you’re ever in need of additional support, here are some outside resources:

988 Lifeline

Crisis Text Line

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