Finals are finally here...and that means stress, stress, coffee, and more stress! Here are some tips to keep you healthy and on top of your self-care game during this busy time of the semester.
1. Make a game plan.
Write down a list of everything that you want to accomplish during the day, including which assignments you want to tackle, upcoming tests and study plans, deadlines, and any events or meetings. This will help you see the overall objectives, and whether or not you’re putting too much on your plate. Too many things on your Monday to-do list? Figure out which ones can be put off and schedule them for another day!
Another tip: instead of cramming last minute, try studying for tests a little bit at a time; for example, focus on a chapter or two a day for each class. This will help you apportion your workload into manageable fragments and make the task of studying for finals far less daunting!
2. Write down positive affirmations.
Stressful times can really cause us to question ourselves and our abilities, so make it a point to write down a positive affirmation every day. Write it in a place where you know you will see it often, such as in your planner, on your calendar, on your desk, on a sticky note on the fridge, or on the bathroom mirror, so that it will catch your eye several times throughout the day. You can find examples on a positive affirmation app, get ideas from Pinterest, or simply create your own. Encouragement and inspiration can really motivate you to tackle your to-do list. You can also ask your friends or roommates to check in with you to make sure you’re staying on track. Gently, of course!
3. Eat satisfying meals and snacks.
When I say “satisfying”, I mean foods that you genuinely enjoy, are nourishing, and will give you sustained energy. This can be especially hard to do during finals season, when all you wanna do is drink some coffee and hit the books, but will really ensure that your brain has enough sustained energy to endure long hours of classwork and studying. Focus on healthy fats, plenty of protein, and filling foods that will help you power through. Snacks are also an important way to sustain energy, so pack some healthy options with you on your way to class or the library, such as fruit and nut butter, a protein bar, or veggies and hummus. Stock up so you always have these on hand!
4. Make time for YOU!
Yes, you can have fun during finals week. Plan on leaving the last two hours of your night open to do whatever it is that you want to do, whether it be watching a good movie, reading a book, creating something, or spending time with a friend. Knowing that the two-hour break is in your schedule, and then actually giving yourself this much needed break after a long day of hard work will help to rejuvenate and relax you before bed so that you don’t feel like you just got hit by a train full of textbooks when you wake up the next morning!
5. Get a good night’s sleep.
This is especially important. You may be the king or queen of pulling all-nighters, but this may prove costly when it comes down to how you’ll feel in the thick of finals week, when productivity is necessary. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night so that your brain can really soak in all of the information you have been working so hard to retrieve and so that you can have enough energy to tackle your to-do list and tests. The aforementioned point about leaving the last two hours of the night for yourself will help you wind down after a hard day of work, so make sure to incorporate some fun and playfulness into your day to ease you into a good night’s sleep. Avoiding screens for the last hour before bed will also help you get quality sleep.
Finals don’t have to be frightening; by following these five tips you can emerge from finals week like a champion and put all of your unnecessary worries to rest. With a little bit of time management and a whole lot of self-compassion, anything is possible...even passing biochem! Good luck on finals you healthy, hummus-wielding warriors!
Freshman. SDSU. Foods and Nutrition.
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