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How to Pick Yourself Up During Finals Season

Finals season is an insanely stressful time of the year. It always has been, and it probably always will be. Personally, my anxiety always seems to be a lot higher during this time of the year, due to testing anxiety and the stress to keep hustling. But, my motivation is always at its lowest. The high anxiety I experience can make me feel extremely sad and overwhelmed, and my lack of drive almost makes the sadness worse.

So far, this year is no exception. This is my first semester at the University of Florida, and it’s been a lot more challenging than I anticipated. I’m at the point where I’m almost completely burnt out, and it seems as if the end is nowhere in sight. I know the semester is almost over, so I’m doing my best to keep my motivation as high as possible.

Whenever I feel like this, there are a few things that I do to try to get my head back in the right mindset. Sometimes I just need to remember my why. Thinking about why I’m in college and the benefits of furthering my education is a good way for me to shift my perspective and find my encouragement again. But, this doesn’t always work. When I’m still itching for some energy to tackle my to-do list, I try out a few things to help. Here are a few of the things that help me pick myself up during finals season.


Whenever I feel like I need to get things off my mind, I turn to my journal. The great thing about journaling is there is not an exact way of doing it. You can do whatever works best for you, whether that’s just writing about your day, following a prompt or creating art on the pages. I like to follow prompts, and some of my favorites come from @lanibfit’s account on Instagram. She has a few weekly and daily journaling prompts on her Instagram feed, and they allow me to spend a few minutes with myself and just think about how I’m feeling and what I want to accomplish. Allowing myself to take the time to ponder on these things and just write gives me a much-needed boost.

Make rest a priority

Rest is extremely important, even when it’s not finals season. To avoid feeling overly tired during finals week, I try to prioritize rest daily. When I feel myself getting tired, I allow myself to take a short break instead of pushing myself. I’ll take time away from my screen, go outside for a few minutes or even take a power nap. By allowing myself small amounts of rest throughout the day, I can avoid taking an entire day off from exhaustion.

Go for walks or just get outside

One of my favorite ways to combat anxiety or stress is to go outside for a walk. I love putting on my tennis shoes, grabbing my headphones and listening to a podcast while I enjoy the beautiful Florida weather. Lately, I’ve been going for short walks daily, and I think this is a mood booster. I find myself feeling happier and more relaxed after walking. If you don’t feel like walking or don’t have the time, just go outside. Taking a few minutes to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy nature is an underrated way to rest and take time for yourself.

Make to-do lists

My favorite way to keep track of my daily tasks is to make to-do lists. I make a list of tasks pretty much every day, and I think doing this helps keep me sane during a busy week. I make my to-do list in an order of most to least important, which helps me stay focused on what absolutely needs to be completed. Creating these lists allows me to empty my mind a little bit more, and create a plan for my day.

Reward yourself

The phrase “treat yourself” is highly overused, but sometimes rewarding yourself is what you need to stay motivated. Even if it’s not for motivation, treating yourself can help you find something to look forward to when your days are extremely long and stressful. You can reward yourself with a piece of chocolate, a coffee, a nap or maybe a break to make a FaceTime call with a friend.

Overall, finals season can be an extremely difficult time of the year. But, you can make it a lot easier by prioritizing your needs and picking yourself up when you’re feeling down. Journaling, walking and treating myself are just a few of my favorite ways to give myself a break and find my motivation again, but there are so many other ways that you can do this. When finals season becomes too all-consuming, try to make yourself a priority.

Madison Hodge is a junior at the University of Florida where she majors in Advertising. She has a small business on Etsy named Stardust Design, where she sells custom digital illustrations, stickers, apparel, and more. In her free time Madison loves to spend time with her boyfriend, go to the beach, drink lemonade, and draw.
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