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Wellness > Mental Health

Prioritizing Self Even When the To-Do List is Constantly Growing

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 UIC chapter.

As finals time grows closer and people began to prepare for exams, write papers, and tie all of the loose ends for classes, it can be extremely hard to even think about taking care of yourself. If you’re anything like me, as my To-Do list constantly grows, I am more likely to put myself and my own needs on the back burner. But after time and time again of doing so, eventually you reach a point of immense burn out and you don’t want to do anything at all.

While for students, this time brings on a lot of stress and immense pressure because we want to end the semester on a great note, we still MUST take care of ourselves. While this is easier said than done, I will share a few small things I do to take care of myself when my To-Do list is constantly growing.

  • Meditate and/or take deep breaths. In today’s time, meditation is always suggested when under stress or immense pressure, but it is a great tool. Allowing my body to be still and grounding myself into the Earth relaxes me and allows me to power through the rest of my To-Do list.
  • Take a bath with Aromatherapy or Epsom Salt. I absolutely love bubble baths. Lighting a candle and using one of my favorite Aromatherapy scented foam baths (Sunrise Yoga from Bath and Body Works) helps me to relax after a long day of work and school, especially after tackling a lengthy To-Do list.
Courtesy of Chili’s x DoorDash
  • Make a quick meal. I absolutely love pasta, it is my go-to meal after a long day. Cooking has become one of my favorite pastimes, and it usually gives me a space to breathe between working on assignments or studying for exams. If you don’t necessarily like to cook, buying a favorite meal or snack (ex. tacos or cookies) is just as good for the soul. This can even include a favorite beverage (ex. tea) that comforts you.
  • Take small breaks between studying. During finals season, I especially employ the Pomodoro method when I am studying and completing assignments. The Pomodoro technique encourages people to work with the time they have. It works by working your workday into 25-minutes chunks separated by 5-minute breaks. While this method has many benefits, it is especially helpful for time management and reducing stress.
  • Do a HIIT Exercise or go for a brisk walk. Immersing yourself in an effective workout or nature walk, if you prefer walking, is amazing for your mood and can give you joy when you are stressed. Moving the body is a wonderful tool when your To-Do list is constantly growing, especially since most people are tucked behind a desk for hours at a time. Make an effort to get up and move between tasks.

It is important to prioritize yourself no matter how long your To-Do list goes, even if all you have is 20 minutes to take a break for yourself. A simple way to ensure you are taking care of yourself in this season is to schedule it. Make it as non-negotiable as the other items on your calendar. Just remember, you are a vessel and you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Imani is an Applied Psychology major with a desire to become a Child and Adolescent Psychologist. She is passionate about self-care, body positivity, and showing up authentically. She loves to read, write short stories, watch TV, and hang out with friends in her free time.