Finals. Just seeing the word makes college students shake with fear.
As someone who has always struggled with test anxiety, finals week is a difficult time for me. In the past, in order to maximize my time during this chaotic week I would decide to stop all my self-care habits. No more going to the gym because that takes too much time; No more cooking homemade meals because it is quicker to door dash something. Plus, I would much rather eat burger and fries from a restaurant than my same homemade chicken wrap. No more journaling or meditating because again that it such a huge waste of study time. Instead, all that I should do during finals week is eat, study, sleep and repeat. Right?
Last year during finals week, I began to drop all my self-care habits to make room for more studying. By midweek I had the most terrible stomach-ache and migraine. Thus, I had to take that entire day off because I could not move out of bed. For the entire semester, my body had gotten used to a daily workout and nourishing food, then I suddenly stopped it all for a week and my body was confused. This led to a major realization: do not completely stop your self-care habits during final week! In fact, finals week is often when you need self-care the most!
I know it can be easy to fall into a mindset that as a college student you must only run-on coffee and a lack of sleep, but please do not feel pressured to pull all-nighters or pick up other habits that might not work for you. Instead, try to continue your same routines! During finals week, sticking with your same self-care habits can be the best way to go. Also, please treat yourself with kindness and grace if you are not able to completely fulfill all your self-care practices; you’re doing the best you can in this moment. The important thing is that you listen to your body and do whatever self-care you can during this very challenging week. For me, before finals week, I remind myself that my self-care habits are not a waste of time and that they will actually allow me to do my best academically. By reminding myself of this, I do not feel guilty for taking time for myself during the busy week. However, at the same time I am not hard on myself if I am not able to do all of my self-care habits fully.
An affirmation that I often use during finals week is:
I am doing my best and I am capable of achieving my goals.
Karman’s Finals Self-Care List:
- Maintain my morning routine
- 30-minute workout or activity
- Getting some fresh air!
- Time with friends to distract your brain from stress
- Moving locations/not spending all day in the same spot studying
- Eating food to help support my brain and body
- Getting at least 7hr of sleep
- Listening to what your body needs in the moment (food, sleep, water, etc.)
What’s your self-care list look like when you’re experiencing stressful times?