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No Trespassing: My 7 Boundaries for Preventing Burnout During Finals Week

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Constant Canvas notifications. Essays. Group projects. Exams. Course evaluations. Ah, the joys of finals week. If you are like me, sometimes finals week can lead to a bit of – how should I put it – dysfunction. As I climb the mountain of assessments that leads to the plateau of hitting my GPA goal, my room (and hair) tends to be a little messier, my skincare routine takes a backseat and my workout routine becomes…seemingly nonexistent. However, while normal routines and priorities shift during these final semester weeks, self-care shouldn’t go extinct. This finals week, I set boundaries with myself to ensure that I reach my goals without forgetting myself in the process:

1. Stay Hydrated

First, I stay hydrated. And no, future me, lattes don’t count. I know that this tip is basic, but it is constantly repeated for a reason. My brain simply functions better when it has the right tools it needs to succeed, and one of these tools is water. To encourage myself to up my hydration game, I ordered a new water bottle online for relatively cheap, and she is the perfect size to comfortably fit in my cup holder, my bookbag or anywhere I am jetting off to during this crazy week.

2. Stay Active

Second, I move my body for at least 20 minutes. Personally, working out for an hour during finals week is simply unattainable. For the girls that can crush their gym routines and assignments simultaneously, congratulations, you are my hero! I simply try adding in a 20-minute workout for a study break. I like to go for a quick run or follow the instructions of fitness YouTubers like Jessica Valant Pilates, Blogilates or MadFit. For my fellow CJC girls, a swift sweat sesh is my favorite way to overcome writer’s block.

3. Meal/Snack Prep

Third, I like to meal prep or snack prep. While I find the Instagram pages that can create a whole week’s worth of food inspiring, I am not to this level of meal prepping. For me, I simply cook some of my healthy staple foods, like quinoa, cinnamon almonds and smoothies, in advance for a quick grab-and-go study treat.

4. Get Ready in the Morning

Fourth, I actually get ready in the morning. Staying in sweats the whole day can be tempting, but I find that I am a lot more productive when I put on a simple matching set or a jumper, throw on some mascara and wear some jewelry. Overnight curling rods also come in clutch: my curls are popping with no effort. Bonus points if I put on my favorite podcast or playlist while getting ready.

5. Change Study Locations

Fifth, I change locations based on the class that I’m reviewing. This study tip has already been incredibly helpful for me this semester. If I want to stay at home one day, I’ll study for one class in my bedroom, one class on my porch, one class in my living room and one class at the kitchen table. Sometimes I mix it up and study for a class or two at a coffee shop. When I divide up my day based on location, I find that my brain does a mini reset and prevents the tasks from becoming monotonous.

6. make daily and weekly plans

Sixth, I like to make two types of plans: one mini vacation to look forward to every day and one big thing to look forward to every week. Incorporating daily self-care during finals week is crucial to preventing burnout. For instance, today I took a walk and listened to a podcast as a study break. Other mini vacation ideas include going to your favorite coffee shop to get a drink, painting your nails while watching your favorite YouTuber or taking a power nap. (Need more everyday vacay ideas? I’ve got ya covered with this article.)  I try to limit my mini vacations to 30 minutes, which gives me a personal boost without being overly time consuming.

I also like to plan one big thing every week during finals season. This activity might last a few hours but motivates me to keep working hard. Some of my favorite longer activities are watching a movie, going to a store to leisurely browse or grabbing dinner with friends.

7. “Vienna” by Billy Joel

Lastly, when all else fails, I turn on “Vienna” by Billy Joel to remind myself that everything is going to be okay.

Finals week is a time to appreciate everything that I have learned this semester and a steppingstone to receiving my degree. We’ve got this!    

Caroline Crews is a third-year public relations major at the University of Florida. As a PR major, she enjoys nerding out about consumer analytics and campaign design. Caroline has used her education to design social media plans for both non-profit and for-profit organizations, create targeted email campaigns, and construct the branding of several organizations. When Caroline is not immersed in the field of PR, you can find her going on a walk, spending time with friends and family, or making a pot of coffee.