Self-care tips to slay the beast of finals

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at 6:18 PM

We are approaching the final stretch of the semester and for many students, including myself, this is the time when the ever-present stress of the semester ramps up to out-of-this-world levels. 

The exams, papers and projects of these next few weeks will set in stone the grades that we earn this semester. Everything seems to be due at once, sleep schedules fall out of balance, and the awkward scheduling of finals week disrupts the regular routine that was established early in the fall. With so much weight being placed on these exams, it can be hard to think about taking care of yourself. However, it is exactly when the stress is piled on that self-care becomes even more important. 

Taking time to be with friends that you might not see until after winter break, reflecting on the semester, and thinking about something other than school is just as important as getting the grade in your courses. In fact, that time away from the books both protects you from burnout and also re-energizes your brain for another bout of studying. 

With the fast-paced chaos, it’s easy to let the stress get to you, however firm scheduling and planning, along with the establishment of a more self-care-oriented mind set can help tame the beast that is finals. Here are a few tips that can create a smooth finals week: 

1. Breathe

It’s easy to let the looming mountains of work cast their anxiety inducing shadow on you. Yes, there is a lot of work to do for most of us, but it doesn’t have to be so bad — start this journey to a smoother last few weeks of school by taking a deep breath and calming the frantic thoughts racing through your mind. 

2. Plan 

Get out your planning medium of choice and flip through your syllabi or handouts your professors have given you. Come up with a detailed plan for how you’re going to accomplish the last few tasks between now and finals week. Having this list will allow for you to create a tangible picture of your workload. 

3. Don’t Sacrifice Sleep 

The sleep cycle that you have established this semester is a critical part of the routine that has made things run (hopefully) smoothly. Don’t give up on that just because finals loom. Think of finals as just another test; if you cover the material you need to cover, you will do fine. 

4. Too Much Caffeine is the Enemy 

I’m not a caffeine consumer, so I will never understand its attraction, however, for those of you who are big coffee/caffeinated tea drinkers: don’t overconsume. Like your sleep pattern, your body has become accustomed to a certain amount of caffeine ingestion throughout the day. If you suddenly go from 3 cups of coffee a day to 7, then you’re going to notice that your newfound energy is going to: 1.) Wreck your sleep schedule; 2.) Result in more sporadic and short-lived energy spikes; 3.) Make you even more anxious. 

Pro-tip? Drink lots of water and vitamin C to stave off the colds that start to float around, and snack on nuts, fruits, and finger veggies like carrots and celery. 

These weeks are going to be rough, however, a bit of foresight and planning can make them a little less so. 

Shayma Musa can be reached at

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