Self-care tips for a stressful semester

By Taylor Tracy

At this point in the semester, things are piling up. Papers to be written. Articles to be read. Presentations to be prepared and practiced. All as Thanksgiving looms just a month in the future, and just around the corner from that, the end of the semester and finals. It’s easy to get stressed, filled with worry and self-doubt about all that’s left to be done. However, it’s also important to take care of yourself, too.

Here are some self-care tips to keep calm and carry on with your semester:

  1. Sleep Well

Sleep is not just another thing to cross off your to-do list everyday. There’s a reason that it appears on every list like this. There’s a reason that people will yell at you to remember to get eight (or, if you’re really in a pinch, at least six) hours of sleep per night. An all nighter will mess up your body’s sleep rhythm and it can be difficult to catch up after a few bad nights. Stay well-rested and it will keep your mind well-rested too. (Insomnia can be hard during this point in the semester. Try breathing and relaxation techniques to keep yourself in the moment and get to sleep).

  1. Eat Well

You don’t have to go paleo or all-organic or go on some crazy juice cleanse. But, when stressed, it’s especially important to make sure that you’re giving your body all of the nutrients it needs to function properly. You can have that bag of stress Cheetos and that milkshake at 2 a.m….but make sure you’re getting your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Eat whole grains. Stay hydrated.

  1. Make Time for Others

Spend time with other people. Don’t do homework locked in your room by yourself. Try having a study party with friends, snacks, and planned breaks to watch some Netflix. Go to campus events. Keep in touch with others and check-in on others to make sure they’re doing okay. Volunteer and give back if you have time. People can be a great distraction for a little while, and they can also be a great resource for making it through.

  1. Make Time for Yourself

People can be a great source of inspiration and fun, but make time for you, too. Take some time to do the things you love, whether it’s watching YouTube or Netflix, playing your guitar, reading something that’s not for class, writing, dancing, singing, running, playing basketball, etc. Take a little time each day and week to do the things you love. It’s important.

  1. Treat Yourself

Be nice to yourself. Buy that coloring book you’ve been eyeing for six months. Wear your favorite t-shirt because it makes yourself feel good. Go for that chocolate milkshake. Whatever makes yourself feel happy, do it (as long as it’s not harmful to others)! You deserve it.

  1. Breathe

Take a deep breath because it’s going to be okay. You are going to be okay. No matter how many papers you have to write or how many exams you have to prepare for, you are going to be okay. Even if you’re writing an honors thesis. Even if you’re in the middle of some big project that feels strange and daunting.

This time of the semester is hard, and that’s normal. However, there are ways to reduce stress in a healthy way and make it manageable. Good luck with your papers and your exams. Winter break is the light at the end of the tunnel.

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