Burnt-out. Stressed. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Tired. Worried. If you talk to any college student during the month of May and ask them how they’re feeling, you’re likely to hear one at least one of these adjectives. (Or perhaps it’s more likely that you already are a college student who knows these emotions very well.) With finals (and graduation for some) on the horizon, the last few weeks of the semester are an especially challenging time for students who are overburdened with final exams, papers, and culminating projects. It’s a wonder that we’re able to survive this month semester after semester.
But how exactly do we manage to make it out of finals week alive? If you’re anything like me, you might complain to all of your friends and family members every waking minute of the day and end up spending more time worrying than actually studying. If I had a quarter for every time I tell someone how stressed I feel during finals week, I’d probably be able to buy a whole semester’s worth of textbooks! However, throughout the past four years that I have spent at UMBC, I’ve come to realize the importance of doing something about that stress.
The answer is simple: self-care.
Many of my close friends who know that I’m an avid fan on NBC’s Parks and Recreation will tell you that I live by the motto “Treat Yo’self”. Taking care of yourself through actions that preserve your physical, mental, and emotional health is essential in maintaining motivation through times of high-stress. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We live in a society that pushes for productivity and efficiency at all times. In my own life, I often feel extremely guilty when I trade in my textbook for even just a half hour of Netflix. I feel as if I should be studying 24/7. Although I am certain many of my classmates share with me in this mindset, practicing self-care is actually likely to increase your productivity and energy at work and in school. Among other benefits, self-care is likely to help prevent burnout, aid in maintaining healthy relationships, and improve self-esteem.
You don’t need to wait until you feel stressed to practice self-care. Whenever you feel that you need a break, give yourself one! Taking care of yourself does not make you a selfish person. We all need time to recharge our batteries so that we can make the most of our lives and perform at our full potential.
Self-care will look different for different people. Find out what works best for you, and do what makes you happy! Here are some resources that may be helpful to you during this finals season.
If you’re free on Thursday, May 8th between 12 and 1pm, stop by the Women’s Center to make your very own self care box with us! More information can be found here.