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Taking Care of Your Mental Health Before Finals

The last week or two of the semestercan put a strain on a college student’s mental health. From meeting deadlines, finishing up group projects or beginning to study for final exams, there is a lot of stress associated with the end of the year. When putting your brain through that much work, it’s essential to take a step back and refresh your mind. 

Here are five ways to take a step back and take care of your mental health in the weeks leading up to finals so when it’s time to take your exams, you’re fully prepared.

1. Make sure to take care of your physical body— not just your mind.

During finals week it’s easy to eat a lot of junk food, soda and never work out. While that may sound like an ideal plan, having a good balance of food and water will be key to keeping your mind and body at top shape. Make sure to drink tons of water to keep yourself hydrated while you’re running around campus getting last minutethings done. Also, make sure to pack good snacks like almonds, granola bars and an apple to have while studying. If you’re looking for a “treat,” go to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and splurge on a smoothie there. It’s healthy and tastes delicious, and you deserve it.


2. Make lists.

For me, having a list for everything I need to complete helps with my anxiety during finals week. I like being able to see exactly what needs to get done, and I even prioritize the most important at the top of my planner. Also, nothing feels better than being able to get a sharpie and cross through what I’ve accomplished throughout the day. 


3. Make a good studying playlist.

I always enjoy making playlist and find it clears my mind whenever I’m feeling anxious. Plus, it’s fun to find new artists and discover music you never knew existed. Having a set playlist before you sit down to study will give you more time to focus your studying on actually studying. I know a lot of the time I tell myself I need to find the “right” song before I officially start studying and then waste a good hour doing nothing productive. Having a pre-made playlist means you won’t waste valuable time trying to find the perfect song. 

4. Study somewhere new.

During finals week, I always seem to get in a routine of studying in the same places for two weeks straight. Having that kind of repetition can get old and makes me unmotivated to get anything done. Studying somewhere new will give you a new outlook on your studying, and you won’t bump into the same people all the time. 


5. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

I always find myself comparing myself to my classmates when finals come around. Have I studied as much as they have? Am I as prepared as they are? Forget all of that. It’s only going to add more stress than needed during this already stressful time. As long as you are happy with what you’ve accomplished and can say to yourself that you’ve done all you can, don’t stress. 

Madeline is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and pursuing a certificate in Critical Cultural Competence. When she's not spending countless hours studying you can find her at the local thrift store, texting her friends about her bad luck or at home dancing in the mirror to old Panic! at The Disco songs.
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