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Mental Health

End Of The Semester: How To Feel Like You Have Your Sh*t Together (Even If You Don’t)

It’s official: the semester is almost over.

In approximately a month, exams will be over and there will be no more assignments. We will finally have time to catch up on our favorite series and sleep until we’re done with it. But, of course, to get there, we need to get through a lot of work, so we might feel more overwhelmed than excited.

It’s that time of the year when we may feel like a mess. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day, and life gets out of our control more often than not. But good news is, you don’t need to feel like that. There are simple things you can do to feel like you have your sh*t together – even if you don’t. The secret is to focus on the things you can control, instead of in the things you can’t.

MAKE YOUR BED

Everybody says it because it’s true: making your bed in the morning makes you feel more in control of things. It makes your room feel tidy and it helps you with the temptation of going back to bed instead of getting things done. Plus, it only takes a minute.

CLEAN UP YOUR ROOM

Now that you’ve made your bed, why not taking some time to clean up your room as well? I’m not talking about a whole spring cleaning – just set aside ten minutes to organize your study items, such as your books, your notes and your stationary stuff. That will help you when it’s time to study, because you will spare time not having to search for things, since you know exactly where they are. Have a few more minutes? Make sure your clothes are not spread around your room like a bomb went out there. A tidy ambience will make you feel more energized and less stressed.

GET DRESSED

Maybe you are still having online classes, but even so, resist the temptation of staying in your pajamas all day. Your brain understands pajamas are for sleeping. Therefore, if you were them on your study time, you will have a harder time to focus and concentrate, because your mind will understand you should be relaxing. So, when you wake up, after making your bed and doing your morning hygiene, get properly dressed. There’s no need for complicated clothes – you should choose something that makes you feel comfortable (but not too comfortable, like you are wearing PJ’s). If you want to feel super powerful, put on your favorite underwear (and, if you wear a bra, make sure it matches your panties). For an extra dose of confidence, put on some make up (if you like it) and accessorize. It will make you feel like you own the world.

SCHEDULE. EVERY. SINGLE. THING.

If you have a planner, you probably know the power of scheduling tasks.

If you don’t have one, don’t worry – you don’t need to buy one just for the month ahead. Just make sure you have a proper space to organize your time – it can be and old notebook or a board on your wall. On a separate paper, write down everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) you have to do until the school semester is over: exams, assignments, extracurricular activities, and even personal stuff like doctor appointments and self-care (that’s right, it’s important to schedule that as well). Then divide every task into smaller steps. For example: if you have a History exam coming, break it into each chapter you need to read, activities you should to do absorb the content and the review time. That being done, start arranging each smaller task along the time you have available. You can use a color code or post its for extra fun. Make sure the end result will be pleasant to look at, because you’ll need to consult it many times a day.

When doing that, don’t forget to prioritize the most important things, and consider postponing the ones that are less urgent – but try finding a balance! Watch yourself not to fill up your whole calendar with school tasks and neglect some you time.

The benefit of scheduling every single task is that you know there will be a specific time for each thing. That way, you don’t need to waste your time worrying about the other things and focus on what you’re doing right now.

HAVE PROPER MEALS

Maybe you’re so busy you forget to have breakfast, or consider it’s a good idea to skip lunch in order to finish an assignment. Don’t. Food is the fuel of our body. If you neglect it, odds are, you are not going to have the energy to do what you need. And remember: granola bars and instant noodles don’t count. Prioritize having proper meals with real, nutritional food. In order to spare time, you can meal prep on Sundays. You decided to order food? Choose healthy choices on the menu.

Oh, and one more thing: instead of eating in your desk while working, use the meal time to relax a little and make it a self-care moment. Eat at a proper table or consider going outside. It will only take minutes and you will feel more energized to continue working after.

EXERCISE

Ok, maybe you won’t be able to exercise every day, and that’s fine. Just make sure you have around 30 minutes of exercise a day, at least three times a week. It might seem impossible, but it will be good for both your physical and mental health, your immunity, your sleep quality and your mood. Not quite convinced? Think about it as an investment. The time you spend exercising will improve your body and mind to focus on studying, which means optimizing your work.

SLEEP. I MEAN IT.

You might be thinking: “There’s no way I will be able to have proper meals and exercise, let alone sleep. Are you nuts?!” That’s why scheduling everything is so important. Furthermore, sleeping shouldn’t be negotiable. It is not something you can neglect and recover later, despite what many people say. Sleep is not a choice, is a must. And no, four hours a night won’t do it. You should prioritize eight hours of sleep per night, every night, above all things. If it looks like a waste of time, think this way: if you are exhausted, you won’t be able to study properly, and even simple tasks will take more time than actually needed. Sleeping allows our body to recover, clean up and get ready to another day of work. If you take it seriously, you’ll see you perform much better after a good night of sleep than after three or four cups of coffee. You’ll be able to do things faster and better.

The tips above focus on prioritizing your mental health above anything else, in order to make you recover the control of your life, even when everything seems to be falling apart. The end of the semester is a tough time, so don’t forget to do your best and be patient with yourself. And remember: asking for help is always a possibility. You’ve got this!

I’m a writer and Journalism student at Cásper Líbero. Besides writing and reading, I’m fascinated by culture, arts and wellness.
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