Honestly, the few weeks before Winter break after the drag of midterms has ended and when everyone is mentally preparing themselves for how bad finals will be, is the worst part of the semester, in my opinion. This is the time when burnout has more than likely already begun to set in, and everyone is just completely fed up with the concept of school in general.
It’s also when a lot of projects and deadlines begin to crop up terrifyingly fast. Suffice to say, it’s not the best of times.
I know that I, personally, struggle with focusing and getting work completed at this time of year. The fact that it’s the holiday season absolutely doesn’t help either!
So, with the Winter holiday drag fully setting in, I figured that it would be a good idea to talk about ways to make the final few weeks of the semester more survivable for us all.
First things first: self-care is incredibly important. Burnout is a terrible thing to experience, especially when you’re in college. For me, it tends to combine with my imposter syndrome, and it becomes an entire nightmare to try to muddle through. Having to work to finish essays while worrying over whether you’re smart enough to even be in the class or not is difficult to manage. This is where self-care comes in.
People tend to stop taking proper care of themselves whenever they get stressed, it’s natural and it’s nothing to be ashamed of! Whenever I find myself getting burnt out to the point where it’s affecting the quality of my work, I take a day to myself.
This means I mute my notifications on social media, accept the fact that nothing is being turned in today and then simply take the time to relax. Self-care means different things to different people, but for me, I’ll take the day to go grab an overly expensive coffee from Starbucks and settle in to watch mind-numbing YouTube drama videos. It’s not the most involved routine, but it takes the stress of upcoming assignments off of my back, at least for a few hours.
If you’re burnt out, taking a day off and allowing yourself the chance to rest and recuperate should ideally be enough to allow you to work on assignments without feeling the burn for a small while.
Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone else is most likely feeling the exact same way you are right now. Mindlessly raging at people in your class for not completing their group projects on time is rewarding in the short term, but it’s going to leave you feeling bitter and generally pissed off 24/7 if you don’t try to exercise some restraint.
I fall into this hole myself, but when I remind myself to calm down and take a few minutes to relax (mostly by grabbing a coffee and sitting down or even washing my face with cold water to shock myself back into reality), I find that I feel better than I had before.
Try to keep this in mind: giving yourself a stress ulcer over the person in your Chemistry lab not submitting their forms is only going to hurt you in the long run. Them not turning in their work is their business. You cannot control someone else’s actions (or inaction) but you can try to control your own reaction to what they do.
Also, in case this isn’t clear yet, this is the time in the semester where you need to absolutely spoil yourself. That seasonal coffee drink that you keep seeing advertised? Buy it and drink it while you work on that online quiz. That Netflix series you’ve been waiting to binge on? Watch all of it after you finish that next essay of yours.
You’ll be able to relax and recoup over the Winter holiday; giving yourself periodic “mini-rewards” that are cheap, inexpensive and bring you joy is probably the fastest way to improve your mood and make it easier to continue working until that time arrives.
This part of the semester is stressful, but the end is almost here! Just a few more weeks until that blissful multi-week-long break is here, and you’ll be able to relax. You’re not alone in counting the days until it’s over; I know that basically everyone else is in the same position you are, so don’t think that you’re alone in this situation!