Surviving Midterm Season & Heavy Work Weeks

No matter your concentration and set of extra curriculars, you will encounter some tough periods where work suddenly amplifies. Before you know it, you might have multiple papers, problem sets, and exams to do in one week, or, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a bit less. Either way, it’s especially important to remember two things during these times: it will pass, and take care of yourself because you’re coming out on the other side. Here are some tips on how to make it through work-heavy weeks in your best shape.

 

Make lists

In your planner – if you don’t have a physical one, use a journal that you will keep track of  – make a to-do list and list of goals every day. On top of your daily lists, make a list for the whole week that includes things you need to get done and things you want to get done. The lists are what you need them to be, but it’s important that you write everything down on your to-do list and list of goals, including arbitrary things like taking out the trash and recycling. Using lists are a surefire way to increase your productivity and supplement you satisfaction as you cross things out!

 

Give yourself breaks

It is mentally (and can be physically) straining to work, work, work, work, work. While this is easy to do, especially when it is crunch time, remember that your mind needs time to dial down and relax a bit. Imagine sprinting for hours on end. Think about how your legs would feel, how tired your lungs and the rest of your body would be. This example parallels your mind’s predicament. So, whether your breaks are based on set time intervals or just when you feel the need, take a quick break from your work: listen to music, watch music videos, watch segments of a TV show, go for a walk, or whatever makes you happy!

 

Eat well

While it can be easy to just eat comfort food, which might also wreck your tummy, or to start skipping meals, it’s super important to remember that you need good fuel to keep functioning at your best. Here’s another analogy: think of yourself as a car. Treat yourself to that premium gas if you can. In other words, eat good foods that do good things for your body. You might be surprised at how much better you start to feel, especially in terms of energy, after you eat better for a bit.

 

Move your body

If it’s midterm season and you have yet to go to the gym, it’s a long shot for you to start that habit now. If you have gone several times or are a regular, don’t take any breaks now just because you have a lot of work. It’s important that in these super busy, stressful times, you remember to move your body! Focusing on work and doing well on work can be so much harder if your body has been still for uncomfortably long. Whether it’s taking time to workout, stretching every hour or so, or taking a couple walks, don’t forget to move! Side note: doing this with a friend or two makes it even more fun!

 

Sleep

You have probably heard this a million times from just about every person you know, from your family to your friends to your doctor to me. However, since you’re reading this you might need this reiteration. Sleep is essential for the wellbeing of your mind and your body. Though you may be challenged to give it up at times, consider other things you could minimize rather than hours of sleep, like scrolling on social media. Sleep is a priority! Plus, you’ll fall asleep in class so much less.

About The Author

Student at Harvard College
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