4 Self-Care Tips for Finals

4 Self-Care Tips for Finals (Illustration: Adriana Vega)

With finals just around the corner, a lot of students are struggling to find ways to both be productive and take care of themselves — especially after a year of distance learning.  

During my midterms, I experimented with ways to balance studying and unwinding. Here is a list of a few of my favorite ways to achieve that special balance.

1. Socially-distanced study group

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I always appreciate studying with other people. Unfortunately, once my school shut down, I couldn’t do regular study groups in the library anymore. Instead, my friends and I organized an outdoor socially distanced study picnic. It’s a great way to spend some time outside and makes studying for upcoming exams just a little bit more enjoyable. If being outside isn’t your style, you can still make studying a group experience. You can create an exam prep Discord or Zoom with your friends.

2. Work in minor breaks throughout the day

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If you prefer studying alone, it’s still important to step away from the computer. Zoom fatigue is very real, and working in a couple of short breaks throughout your day can help you stay focused. If you’ve been working for a few hours, get up, stretch and make yourself a cup of tea.

You could also do something else on your to-do list that doesn’t require being in front of a screen. Maybe you’ve been meaning to tidy up your room. You can put on a podcast or some music and clean up your work area. I know for me, having a clean workspace helps me focus better, and cleaning is a good excuse to turn my brain off for a few minutes. 

3. Take a walk in between periods

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On the day of exams, it’s really tempting to spend the whole day staring at a computer screen. To avoid this, I tried to find time between exam periods to spend some time outside. Spending time in nature can greatly improve your mood, whether it’s just a quick few minutes on your front steps in between periods or a walk around your block after your chem exam.

4. Plan to do something you enjoy post-finals 

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Sometimes, it feels like finals week can go on forever. To keep myself from getting caught up in all the stress, I like to plan something special for the last day of the week. It’s nice to have something to look forward to. Whether it’s cooking yourself a nice meal or having a Netflix Party movie night with your friends, it’s a great way to celebrate all the work you’ve done. 

Making it through finals, especially this year, is tough. It’s important to recognize and reward yourself for all your hard work. 

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