Finals can be stressful. Everyone wants to do well, so people often pull all-nighters or skip a meal. While people know what they can handle, it’s important that you take care of yourselves during these times, especially in the midst of a pandemic. So, here is how some of our correspondents do just that!
I’m sure for most of us going through finals, a pandemic and personal problems, we’ve recently lost the luxury of self-care being a “I’ll do a face mask” situation and more of a “How do I find the motivation to study?” one. What has helped me the most is making sure I start and end my days in as peaceful and uplifting of a way I possibly can. I’m the kind of person that has a hard time getting out of bed and ironically falling asleep, so this is pretty essential. How I do this is taking care of my immediate needs and wants. For the morning, this includes brushing my teeth, showering, making my favorite coffee and breakfast, and being with my family and dog for a bit. It makes me feel like a car being warmed up before it’s ready to drive in the cold weather—I’m ready to go. The middle of the day is a blur of school and household responsibilities, but as soon as it hits around 11 p.m. I feel the need to check back in with myself. Do I feel capable enough to keep working? What would I like to do after I close my laptop? I take into consideration what I’d like to do and spend the time between closing my laptop and falling asleep doing those things. Nowadays it’s usually playing some (or a lot of) Among Us while watching Community. This “me-time” helps ground me, refuel me and give me motivation to get through tomorrow.
I’m pretty lucky that I only have one final, but it was stressful a few weeks ago as I was finishing up large assignments, work projects and other things. So, instead of how I took care of myself during finals, I’m going to describe how I take care of myself during the semester. Like Mia, I also wake up early (by 9 a.m. at the latest), brush my teeth and shower immediately. Then, I would take about an hour to relax and eat breakfast before starting my work and doing some chores. I’ve learned when I need to take a break. I don’t push myself too much, and if I need to unwind, I’ll throw on Netflix or Disney+. Unless I’ve got a ton of work, I end my days after dinner. That wasn’t realistic when I was in Geneseo, but since my parents are at work and my brother also does remote learning, I had all the time I needed during the day to get things done. Plus, most of my meetings and some of my classes were canceled after break, so I had extra time to work during the day. Overall, discovering what works best for you is important. It may be some trial and error, but it helps in the long run.
Coffee. Mostly coffee. Other than that, I try to give myself some time in the morning to prepare myself for the day and figure out what I need to accomplish. The second I get any ounce of motivation, I use it to do as much as I can. For me, I have trouble sitting down for more than a few hours of homework, so doing short bursts of studying and then taking a 10 or 15 minute break helps. Having a semester and a half during a pandemic under your belt is enough to stress anyone out; finals don’t make it any easier.
But I try to consistently remind myself that I will be okay as long as I am doing my best. Also, check on your friends. Not only will it help them feel better, but knowing someone else is going through the same thing you are can be really nice and reassuring.
I’m really lucky this year when it comes to finals … I don’t have any. With that being said, I do have quite a few papers and projects to tackle instead. In between papers I like to (loosely) schedule breaks so I’m not staring at my computer all day. Usually I just end up watching TikTok (which defeats the less-screen- time idea), but it’s nice to just sit back and take a break! I also like to put on a cool sheet mask & turn on some calm/lo-fi music on Spotify!
Good luck on finals and take care of yourselves!