Remember to Take Care of Yourself

As we approach the end of October, everyone is knee deep in midterm season. While juggling attending classes, finishing assignments, and cramming for midterms – it’s easy to lose focus on one of the most important things--yourself. It’s important to always meet your deadlines and to study to your fullest extent, but it’s nearly impossible to succeed if the same emphasis isn’t placed on taking care of yourself.

Self-care is such a huge component of one’s success because it produces positive feelings, which help boost confidence and self-esteem. If you feel crummy due to the lack of self-care, this will be reflected in your study habits and the quality of the work you produce. Instead, giving importance to self-care will result in more energy and efficiency! Here are a few easy ways to care for yourself during midterm season:

1. Exercise!

Getting physical exercise is a fundamental aspect of self-care. Physical self-care looks different person-to-person, so there are many ways to achieve this! Taking some time to hit the gym or attending a yoga session with a pal (this way, you can also spend time with a friend) are various ways of achieving physical activity. Physical movement helps release the pent up stress within your body and regulate the chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins, and cortisol (the stress hormone!!).

2. Power naps

Believe it or not, studies have proven that power naps, which typically consist of 10-20 minutes, are found to be more effective than caffeine. Waking up from a power nap allows one to kick-start themselves with a burst of energy and increased motor performance. If you’re in the middle of crunching through an assignment, a power nap helps you hit the ground running upon waking up. However, naps lasting 30-60 minutes are also found to be effective as well! Naps that are a bit longer, slow-wave sleep, enhances decision-making skills which include memorizing vocabulary and recalling directions.

3. Do a mini-declutter

Such a simple activity can affect your overall mood in such a big capacity! When studying in your room, it’s pretty easy to have notes, assignments, pencils and stationary flying about everywhere, and this can easily add to your stress. For approximately 15 minutes every day, before diving into your study grind, put time aside to organize your table so that everything is restored to its rightful place. If there are dirty dishes lying around in your room, make sure to return them to the kitchen to be cleaned. If you bed is unmade, make it. If your trash hasn’t been taken out for three weeks, make sure you take it out. Decluttering your room will not only organize your belongings, but also your mind!

4. Take a little walk

Find time in your daily schedule, no more than 30 minutes, to step away from your table and go for a walk. When studying for countless hours, it helps to set time to clear your mind. Whether it’s a walk in the park or by a lake, it helps to choose a scenic path that will allow your brain to focus on a completely different environment. Additionally, introducing yourself to a quiet environment allows you to step away from the sounds that may typically get on our nerves. Allow yourself to connect with nature to minimize some daily stress and tension.

5. Spend time with friends

This goes without saying. Your friends, especially when you choose to live away from home, are your support system. When surrounding yourself with positive influences, this allows you to take a breather and the break that you very well deserve. Whether it’s grabbing a quick bite with your housemates in the kitchen or finding them at the library for a small break, take some time to meet with them and catch up! Whether it’s for your friends’ sake or your own, find ways to check in and see how they’re doing.