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How do I Take Care of Myself During the Most Stressful Time of the Year?

Navigating the Holidays can be tricky. As a college student, this time of year signifies finals, dwindling funds, and cold weather. While long dark nights spent in the library can seem harrowing, this is also a two-week period to enjoy the end of a semester, closing another chapter of the college experience. While there are final papers and presentations to dread, there are also fun nights and time spent together to look forward to. 

However, these little specks of light can be hard to see when overwhelmed by stress. Even the littlest self-care rituals can help to keep your head above water!

My first piece of advice would be to take breaks!! Nobody does their best work when exhausted and burnt out. If you begin to feel yourself dozing off between chapters or unable to contain your wandering mind when studying, it’s totally okay to walk around for a bit or go grab a coffee. In my opinion, it’s better to work smarter, not harder! Spending an inordinate amount of time in the library might work for some, but I find that I produce better quality work when I give myself the time to recharge. 

I also believe that taking the time to move your body helps immensely with maintaining stress levels. I always feel 100x better after going for a walk, run, or doing a workout class. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy; I know finding the motivation to go to the gym in 20-degree weather is hard, but even stretching or taking a lap around the library can help when my brain starts to feel foggy. 

Never underestimate the power of a good shower! Taking the time to do a face mask (I love the Beautycounter “Reflect Effect” AHA mask), deep condition my hair (Goop Glow hair serum!), etc. always makes me feel ready to tackle my to-do list. While I do believe in the “look good, feel good” mantra, I know that all I want to do during this time of year is bundle up in my heaviest coats and stay inside 24/7. Taking time to treat yourself to the little things can go a long way in improving your overall mood and motivation. 

During the holiday season, we tend to put so much pressure on pleasing others. Aiming to appease professors for a coveted A, trying to pick the perfect presents for family members, and B, attempting to soak in the final minutes of the semester with friends. Taking the time to take care of ourselves, no matter how small of a ritual it may be, can work wonders in terms of mood, motivation, and stress-management. Oftentimes, taking a moment to take care of oneself can prove to be more efficient than taking that extra 30 minutes to study. With a clear mind and newfound motivation, success is imminent! 

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Caroline Sullivan

Holy Cross '23

A Lover of books, coffee, and style from Long Island, New York!
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