Self-Care Tips for Stressful Semesters

Every new semester comes with fresh challenges and new experiences that can often be extremely stressful. Students often find themselves run-down, tired, and sick because of their heavy workloads. Rather than taking time to wind down and ensure their own mental health, however, many students keep on going until they run themselves dry; this affects in-class performance, grades, and, most importantly, personal health. In order to keep stress at bay, try to integrate some of these self-care tips into your daily routine.


1. Keep your workspace tidy 

Too often, in the rush of assignments, studying, and Netflix-ing, living spaces and working spaces and working spaces can get messy and disorganized. When you’re trying to finish your work (or find the motivation to start some), messiness can make starting assignments seem daunting. Don’t try to organize your space like those Pinterest-perfect desks you see online, though; find an organization method that actually works for you. Perhaps split your paperwork by class so that you can see exactly what each class has assigned. Or, split it into two separate piles: completed and to be completed. Whatever method you choose, just keep in mind that the goal is to ensure that you don’t have to stress over lost paperwork or missed assignments.


2. Get Outside

When it comes to those really stressful weeks – you know, the ones where every professor you have decided to give an exam – getting outside can seem like a waste of time. However, if you feel stressed, taking yourself (and maybe your dog!) for a walk can do wonders. In the flurry of studying, taking a ten or twenty-minute walk is a much-needed moment of relaxation for your mind. If you don’t feel safe walking in your area, take a friend with you!


3. Do something you love

If you have a hobby that you really love – art, reading, running, etc., -- having a full school workload can make you feel like you’ll never have time for it again. However, missing out on your hobbies is the absolute worst thing to do; by the end of the semester you’ll feel bored, overworked, and burnt out. Instead of forgoing your hobby, set aside at least thirty minutes every few days to do what you love. You’ll feel calmer and happier in the long run.


4. Meditate

Meditation is an amazing, quick stress reliever. It brings the mind into a slower, more calm state and has proven health benefits. If you’ve never meditated before, not to worry! It’s easy to integrate into a routine and doesn’t even need to be practiced every day (although it’s great to do every day as well). To begin, a ten-minute meditation will really help you wind down and feel better without taking much time from your busy schedule. If you feel like you need help on the path to learn how to meditate, there are many free apps (Headspace, for example) that can help you begin your journey.


5. To-do lists

If you often find yourself forgetting to start homework assignments or leaving studying until the last minute, create daily to-do lists. Lists will help you organize your day into multiple parts and will motivate you to finish each task. Even if you don’t finish everything you meant to in that day, you’ll find that you still ended up doing more than you might’ve otherwise. Keep your list somewhere visible so you always remember exactly what you’re going to need to do before you finish up for the day.