5 Tips for Self Care in Finals Week

Ahh, finals. Every December, Buckeyes coop up in libraries, residence halls, classrooms, or any spare desk space we can find. We grab a coffee and hit the books. Finals can be an extremely difficult time – I was so nervous in my first semester. Every waking and non-waking moment of that week, I was so scared about every last equation and fact that it really racked my mental health. And looking back on it, it wasn’t worth it to add all of that stress into my life. I was going to do well based off of all of the work I had done throughout the previous 16 weeks; these finals were just the cherry on top, the pat on the back for my job well done. I would have benefited from taking care of myself with a little bit of self-care. In the time since my first semester, I have learned some incredible self-care tips during finals that I want to share with you!

1 – TAKE A BREAK

Many of you may think every single minute must be spent book in one hand, and pencil in the other. However, taking breaks are incredibly important! Taking a thirty minute break every 90 minutes not only allows you to clear your head and take care of yourself, but it’ll also allow your brain to take a break so you aren’t so tired from studying at the end of the day!

2 – GET SLEEP

I know the myth of college all-nighters fueled by caffeine and stress may seem appealing to some, but sleep is incredibly important. Sleeping 7 hours minimum is vital not only for one’s mental health but also for one’s studying. Being well-rested when you wake up will make you happier and allow you to not feel so dragged down by studying!

3 – DON’T EAT MEALS WHILE STUDYING

Eating Raman for dinner while on a 15-hour study binge is no way to live! Use meals as a well-needed social break – get food with your friends at the dining halls, or go off campus and get some well-needed rest from the stress of campus in order to get yourself some Chipotle or other delicious food on High Street! This will get your mind off of the stressors and allow your brain to recharge while you enjoy some food with friends.

4 – WORK OUT 

So angry at chemistry you could throw your book against the wall? Take the anger out on some weights and get those gains! This is especially important if you work out regularly already, but even if you don’t, it’s an incredible stress reliever that can seriously help you with your mental health!

5 – DON’T CRAM AT THE LAST MINUTE

Don’t forget that you have done so much work before this week of studying! At the end of the day that extra hour or two of studying may do more harm than good! Take a break before your exams; I suggest putting all of your books away an hour or two before the exam and relaxing, get to the exam early listening to your favorite song and destroy it!

Overall don’t forget how well you’ve done up until this point—you’re smart and you’ve worked so hard for this exam! Don’t let one week and the stigma of college finals get into your head—you’ve got this!

Self Care: A College Student’s Guide

I scrolled through Instagram one day last week, like I do most days. As I clicked aimlessly through stories while waiting for class to start, I notice a commonality among almost all of them–a motivational phrase, a beautiful picture, or a lunch date, all titled with words about creating a happier today, treating yourself, and the final one in big letters titled SELF CARE.

The message still resonated with me as I put my phone away for class, and I found myself pondering what self care looks like to me. For me, self care has always been a phrase all across social media, but with no good textbook definition. My personal definition of self care means time in which I working on nothing but myself and my mental health. I feel I have done a much better job at self care as a current third-year student than I did in my first year. Now, I am a consistent meditator and I wake up each morning to journal and sit alone with my thoughts for 10 minutes. I avidly use exercise as a stress reliever, using lifting and cardio in tandem to calm my nerves. However, to be completely transparent with you, I was not good at self care my freshman year.

In my first semester, I ran off of Monster Energy, coffee, and Ohio Union quesadillas. I would stay up into the wee hours of the night, wake up early, and slowly grind both my physical and mental health down. This lack of awareness for my own health wasn’t because I enjoyed feeling awful; rather, it was more due to me not knowing about ways to relax and enjoy time. For those of you struggling with self care like I was in my first year at Ohio State, here is my get right guide for all things self care.

STEP 1: Find what makes you happy!

We’re all very different people–for some, a meal with friends is the best thing in the world; others would rather sit in relaxation and watch TV for 30 minutes. Whatever that is for you, you know yourself better than anyone! Find that thing that really allows you to take a deep breath, clear your mind, and truly relax.

STEP 2: If it’s something new to you, create a plan of attack!

Let’s say you really wanna start working out as your form of self care–great! However, part of what may be keeping you from implementing this plan is the fact you wouldn’t even know where to start. My advice is make a plan of attack so that when you get in there you know what you’re doing. Do some research online–find a weight lifting program, watch videos on how to do the exercises–and finally, go in there an kill it! Creating a plan will boost your confidence and allow you to truly relax instead of being nervous about doing the activity.

STEP 3: Consistency!

So, you practiced self care today–that’s great! But that doesn’t mean that you can forget about it for the rest of the semester. Instead, make sure that you take a little time out of each and every day in order to work on you! Remember: consistency is key!

Overall these three quick and easy steps for self care can really make a massive impact. In my experience, I found homework more enjoyable, my friendships more fun, and overall my life in a better state when I learned to take care of myself everyday! For everyone reading as well I just want you to know: you got this! It’s November and the semester is winding down–finish strong and kill it.