Self-Love During Final Exams

As we approach winter break, final exam season rapidly approaches. Many of us are already preparing for testing, or even working on final papers and assignments. While all of our strategies are different, as someone with anxiety who has become more in tune with my own mental and physical wellness, I have prepared a list of five ways that I personally cope with exam season and overall stress.

1. Yoga

I have very recently begun practicing yoga (and along with that, meditation). Yoga has become a part of my lifestyle, a part of my routine even when I am not overwhelmed by my academics. Its healing properties are beneficial both to my physical, as well as my mental and spiritual health. I've found the best thing to do in between studying or completing assignments is to take a yoga/meditation break, to get in tune with myself. 

2. Sleep

I developed the worst sleeping habits when I was living on campus, and they've only followed me as I transitioned into being a commuter. So, I've tried to find more healthy ways to get the sleep I need. For example, I stopped using my phone past 10:00 on school nights to sort of reset, to allow my eyes and my energy to reset. I wake up an hour and a half before I need to leave my house to give myself time to stretch and fully wake up in the morning. 

3. Food

This time of year I feel particularly drained if I don't eat breakfast. I make a point of actually cooking every morning and eating more than I might need to to get me through my day, especially since I don't always have time to eat lunch during the day. I'm mindful of my food choices as well, and aware of the nutritional value of everything I am eating.

4. Socializing

I'm actually an extremely shy person (so it's no surprise that I've found expression in writing), but as I've gotten older I have definitely found the value in going out and talking to my friends to help my mental state. Spending time with people this time of year helps me continue to appreciate life outside of my academics. It makes me feel valuable and important, even when things with school aren't going as well as I want them to. Likewise, opening up to my boyfriend and my mom helps me feel less suffocated by stress and work.

5. Journaling

I've never been proficient in journaling, but my therapist has recommended that I just jot down my feelings occasionally as a form of communication and release. So, I don't have a diary exactly, but I do make a point of taking note when I feel overwhelmed to keep these feelings from overwhelming me and taking up mental space.