How to Stay Sane Throughout a Busy Semester

If you’re anything like me, you pack your semesters full of things you probably don’t have time to do and convince yourself that it’s really not that much, and then you take on some more. It’s not a recommended lifestyle, but for some of us it’s in our blood to keep busy. If you’re like me and hate having any free time, follow these tips to getting through a hectic semester! You won’t regret it!

1. Write everything out for the day

This one is so simple, but it really helps keep you in check. And when I say write everything out, I mean every little thing you have to do for the day. I find it really helpful to break down assignments piece by piece so then you feel accomplished when you get all of the parts done. Just the shear satisfaction of crossing things out will give you the motivation to do everything on that list. Just think about it like this: the more things on your list = the more things to cross out = so much satisfaction!!!

2. Take Breaks 

In my world, taking a break means a three-hour nap but that is NOT what you should do!! It’s best to take short breaks, probably 30-45 minutes to give your brain a rest. It is scientifically shown that your brain takes breaks after focusing on the same thing for a period of time, so might as well give yourself a break because your brain already has! A few ideas for a quick, but effective break could be watching one episode of your favorite show, making a playlist that’s a half hour long and just chill and listen to it, do a quick workout (it’ll get the juices flowing if you’re stuck on something), or even just setting an alarm for 30 minutes and resting yours eyes. These can all be effective is realigning focus and getting you back on track.

3. Keep a Journal 

This is a hard one to keep up because after a while it turns into another chore you have to add on to your list. But this doesn’t have to mean write a 5-page narrative of your day with every single detail from the time you woke up to the time you went to sleep. It could be something as simple as writing in your notes if you were feeling a particular emotion that day and what caused you to feel that way. I found that this helps me stay positive (if you tend to journal positive emotions) and learn from your mistakes (if you document your stresses). You can also document your goals and make plans on how to achieve them and little things to keep you motivated!!

4. Vent to Someone 

I’m a firm believer in this one. Ranting about a particularly good day or a bad day to someone who is actually listening feels so much better than just keeping feelings inside and then exploding at the seams. It also feels really good to tell someone if you’re having a really good day because it’ll validate your feelings and it might even brighten their day too! This is important though especially when you’re having a bad day, because it gets your emotions out in the open and you can allow yourself to feel them and get some validation instead of keeping them in and overthinking everything you’re feeling. So reach out to your most trusted friend or a sibling or a parent and just tell them about your day.

5. Call your Mom or Dad 

This is a big one for college students. We may get caught up in school work and extra-curriculars and other obligations and go days or weeks without talking to our moms or dads. This is hurting us more than it’s helping. Giving your mom or dad a call when you’re most overwhelmed will get you a long way in fixing the problem. They’re your parents, they know you better than anyone else and they have the experience to tell you how to handle life when it seems impossible. Also call your parents regardless of a problem, they could be the people you rant to or you can just tell them about your day, but either way it’s good to hear their voices.

6. Cry 

Sometimes you just have to cry. You may not be the crying type, but sometimes you have to embrace it and just let out a few tears. Everyone has to cry once in a while. It’s unnatural not to.

7. Don't surround yourself with negative people or unecessary drama 

If you have a crazy schedule and ton of things to do on a daily basis, your main concern is not listening to someone else’s drama that isn’t that big of a deal and doesn’t have anything to do with you. You want to spend your time surrounded by people that really understand you and make you the best version of yourself. If you’re constantly around people that are overly dramatic and negative, then they’ll drag you down with them and it’ll be so hard to find your way back to the sunshine of positivity. Drama and negativity are the two things that should be left elsewhere because you don’t have time to deal with either of them.

Things to Remember: 

Your mental health is the most important thing: 

If you feel that you’re slipping and you’re feeling overwhelmed 24/7, take some time for yourself and re-evaluate the things going on in your life. See what you can do to make yourself less crazed. You should never sacrifice your mental health for a grade or extra-curricular, so just keep in mind that taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do.  

Just because you can doesn't mean you should: 

I have to take my own advice on this one. If you have an hour to spare during your busiest day and someone asks you to do something for them, it’s ok to say no. You don’t have to feel obligated to do anything on your own time if you feel that you could be using that time for yourself. While of course it is appreciated, you do not have to volunteer for every single thing that fits into your schedule. Pick and choose and do what you think you can handle. It is not selfish to take time for yourself: 

We forget this very often because of how many things we do for other people, but the only obligation we hold is to ourselves and doing what we can to take care of our own personal needs. It is crucial for your own well-being to take some time for yourself when you feel you need it. This could mean lying in bed and watching TV while friends are out, or taking a long shower, or listening to music and tuning out everything else. Regardless of what it is, it is incredibly important that we take these personal breaks to remind ourselves that our health and happiness comes first. You are doing great: 

You’re taking on a lot and I’m sure it’s in an attempt to get yourself ahead or pursue something you love to do and that’s incredible. Everyone should always be doing what they can for themselves and you are doing the very best you can. You can do whatever you set your mind to and that is something that no one should ever forget.