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Thompson: Remember your self-care during finals season

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

With finals fast approaching, students are beginning to be consumed by their academic pursuits — papers, presentations, study sessions going late into the night with coffee cups and empty chip bags covering the tables.

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But students are forgetting about the one thing they need to remember going into finals week: self-care.

Learning how to make time for self-care during stressful times is a life skill students will want to master as soon as possible.

Self-care doesn’t mean you have to splurge on bath bombs and expensive face masks, but there are little things you can do for yourself that will keep you sane throughout the next couple of weeks.

One of the most important things to remember during finals season is that it’s not worth it to stay up late studying. College students are notorious for trying to cram 15 weeks of material in one night of studying. If you don’t know it by 2 a.m., you just don’t know it. Give your brain a break, go to sleep and try again tomorrow.

Among other things, one of the most overwhelming aspects of finals is the sheer amount of work that needs to be done in such a short amount of time. Instead of looking at it as a monstrous heap of work, it helps to write down small, attainable goals that you are confident you can achieve. Be realistic.

Students need to remember to take a mental break every now and then, too! You can try studying for 50 minutes and taking a 10 minute break to stretch, get up and move around.

Focus on yourself and what your body needs to stay engaged, because prolonged inactivity can reduce the effectiveness of studying and lead to muscle fatigue, discomfort, loss of sensation and tingling.

Self-care doesn’t mean you have to splurge on bath bombs and expensive face masks, but there are little things you can do for yourself that will keep you sane throughout the next few weeks.

Also consider what you’re putting into your body. When it comes to snacking, the stressfulness of it all makes it more tempting to opt for something unhealthy. Food and drinks should nourish your mind and body, not detract from it. As much as you think you need those four espresso shots, you’ll likely feel better if you stick to something light like tea.

Remember to eat a balanced meal consisting of grains, vegetables and protein. Nourishing your body will help fuel you through these last few weeks of school. Even consider doing yourself the favor of meal prepping — something for yourself so you’re not tempted by convenient foods that’ll make your mind feel sluggish.

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The reality is, when your body feels taken care of and nurtured, you’ll study better.

These next two weeks might be stressful, but taking time to do something to unwind that you find joy in is important.

Whether that’s watching Vine compilations, doing yoga, using the meditation pods at the Health Center or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, what’s important is that you don’t work yourself into a poorer state of mental health.

Nobody else can find out what works for you, besides you.

Structuring your commitments in order to maximize efficiency for both your schoolwork and self-care requires a commitment in and of itself, but it’s one that’s worth your time.

Madison Thompson can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online @madisongoeswest.

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