How To: Self-Care During Exam Season

Now that the semester is wrapping up and our last set of exams for the year is upon us, long days of intensive studying and preparation await. Despite how burnt out and unmotivated we may feel this far along in the term, it is important to push through this final wave and finish strong. However, self-care and preservation of one’s own well-being must definitively remain the priority. Here are some easy but essential reminders for how this can be achieved.

1. Drink water.

So simple. It’s the one tip that somehow always makes any list dedicated to health, because it is honestly that significant. Water influx keeps our skin hydrated (and thus less prone to breakouts during this stressful time), prevents flaking lips, and helps regulate appetite. If you don’t already have one, get yourself a refillable water bottle or tumbler that you actually enjoy using, and keep it by your desk or study area at all times. It’s amazing how just having water readily available to you can remind you to take a sip every once in a while.

2. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.

It’s fair to say that this particular goal might be one of the hardest, and I am certainly no stellar role model as far as getting sleep is concerned. However, if you (like me) tend to suffer from headaches, insomnia, and tiredness, a wildly inconsistent sleep schedule may be at the heart of the problem. Of course, consulting a doctor about more serious ailments is advised, but for more general situations, try to set a one-hour window for when you will go to bed and get up every day. This way, your body doesn’t struggle to adjust between mornings that begin at 7 a.m. and those that begin at noon. 

3. Take walks.

Whether you study in your room at home or in the library, it can be difficult to get up from your seat once you’ve gotten into a mental studying zone. All too many times, I look up from my workspace and realize that several hours have passed during which I have not eaten, taken a break, or even moved. Not everyone feels that they can afford to regularly go to the gym and work out amidst exams, but taking at least one or two walks each day is an entirely manageable and beneficial ambition. In fact, getting a breath of fresh air just might clear up your mind when it is cluttered with information and allow for improved retention of knowledge henceforth.

4. Have a study plan and break allocations.

Sometimes, we are blessed with a beautiful exam schedule that provides plentiful time to study for each exam one after the next. Other times, when we are not so lucky, we must figure out how to simultaneously learn different study materials in order to ensure that multiple subjects are getting sufficient attention. This can seem daunting at first, because switching between multiple mindsets can be tricky. A foolproof way to stay organized and on track is to map out a study plan before even beginning the study process. Allocate different days for your various courses to determine when it is most viable to focus on only one subject, and on which days you will need to juggle. It goes without saying that you should be realistic with the study plan, because if you’re guaranteed to fall short of your plan, you will usually lose motivation. Don’t forget to schedule in breaks as well, because alas, we are only human.