Finals week is a lot for everyone. Assignments are piling up, tests are bigger than ever, and sleep continuously seems just out of reach. Suffice to say, we’ve all got a lot on our plate, and though winter break is around the corner, this last home stretch can seem never ending.
One of the main things that suffers during finals week is our own health. It’s easy to skip meals, put off sleep, and survive off of coffee when the most important thing becomes a deadline. It’s important to remind ourselves, the most important thing is and always will be you. In five years you won’t remember this assignment, but the way we treat ourselves will always stay with us.
So when you’re spiralling this week, take a moment to recenter and remind yourself that you always come first. If you need a little help staying present and centered, as we all do from time to time, meditation can help you get there. If you need a little more encouragement to try out meditation, it’s actually been scientifically proven to improve academic performance and raise grades, so you’re still working on that A when you’re working on yourself.
Furman actually pays for all students to have a Headspace subscription. You can use your furman email to sign up for it and it will give you full access to all the meditation exercises! This guided meditation app has anything from five minute exercises to hour long ones, with a range of different techniques and styles. I’m sure everyone could find a kind they’d benefit from.
The most beneficial meditation technique I have found when I’m stressed is the calming meditation. This focuses on creating a more quiet mind, which helps me stay present and stops me from catastrophizing.
Body scan meditation is another kind I’ve found extremely helpful. This meditation focuses on making you aware of how your entire body is feeling; it helps to unify your body and mind, and keeps you present in the moment.
Focused attention meditation is another very beneficial kind. This technique turns attention to our breathing to avoid a wandering mind and lower heart rate. You may have heard of the box breathing technique, which is a kind of focussed meditation. It’s a very simple exercise where you exhale for four seconds, hold your lungs empty for four seconds, inhale at the same pace, and hold air in your lungs for four seconds before exhaling and beginning again.
Visualization is a popular mediation technique. This kind of exercise invites you to picture a place or situation in your mind. You focus on the sensations and feelings that this place incites, which can be calming and give perspective.
Overall, there are a lot of different meditation techniques. Some might work for you, some might not, but the most important thing is that you are remembering to prioritize yourself. If meditation isn’t your thing, that’s ok! There are other ways to take care of yourself, prioritizing sleep and positive self-talk can go a long way to making you feel better. If you feel like you need to talk to someone, which we all do every once and awhile, remember you can always reach out to Paladin Peer Support or the counseling center.
Finals week is rough, but you’ll get through it. If you can take a little time to focus on yourself, you might get through it smoother.