Monthly Archives: December 2015

Self-Care Part 2: Finals Edition!

self-careSee if this sounds familiar: last Saturday night, I had a final paper to write, a final presentation to prepare, and chapters to read for Monday class.

What I actually did: I put up my Christmas tree while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

When I posted about this on Facebook, I was shocked by the overwhelmingly positive response from my classmates, family and friends. When I got to class on Monday, some of my classmates told me it helped them step back and evaluate how they were operating. It reminded me how powerful it can be to take time for yourself.

In my first post back in October, I talked about the steps to practicing self-care, and I hope it was helpful. But even when we practice self-care regularly, there’s something about this time of year that makes it really hard! Many people feel stressed about the holidays coming, and then as students, we have the added stress of finals. We feel like we are being pulled in so many extra directions, and it is easy to let other peoples’ priorities overtake our lives. So what extra steps can we take to take care of ourselves this season?

  • Be extra-aware of your own needs, and put them first. I know that putting ourselves first can feel tough; but especially during the season of giving, it can feel selfish. But it’s not selfish to take care of yourself, it’s essential to your well-being! Taking care of yourself makes you perform that much better at the other things you have to do. If you pull an all-nighter for a final, how do you think you will feel when you’re taking the test? Will you be rested and performing at peak level, or will you be exhausted and barely able to write one sentence? It’s worth it to do what will help us feel prepared for the tasks ahead.
  • Remember what really matters. In a busy season, and especially with finals, we can feel like one paper, one exam, one meeting, one present, or one party is the most important thing in the world. We can worry about getting it right, obsess over the small details, and get angry when something doesn’t go our way. But in reality, how much does that one thing matter? Will this one paper impact what happens for the rest of your life? In most cases, we’ll probably forget about that paper the second that the semester is over! That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to do well and put our best efforts towards it. But it’s helpful to keep it in perspective.
  • Procrastination is the opposite of self-care. If someone has a final on Monday but decides to see a movie on Saturday night, are they practicing self-care, or are they procrastinating? From the outside, it can be tough to tell. The difference is all in a person’s intention.
    • If I’m practicing self-care, I’ve decided that I need some time to recharge before this final, and that seeing the movie will help me relax and put me in a better mindset for the exam. I’ve decided it’s OK to not study for the night, and that I’m okay if this means I don’t know absolutely everything on the exam.
    • If I’m procrastinating, I still want to do well on this exam, but I’m putting off the studying that I feel I have to do. I may feel fine when I’m at the movie, but I’ll probably start feeling really stressed about the final the next day, or I might start stressing when I’m at the movie, so I won’t enjoy it as much!

They key difference is that with self-care, we make the choice to put things in perspective, and we accept the choices we make. With procrastination, we don’t change our perspective on the task, and we can feel even more stressed because we have to do the same amount of work in a shorter timeframe.

So as we plow through the rest of this month, let’s take some time to step back, breathe, and decide what really matters. Let’s give ourselves permission to take time for ourselves, and instead of stressing, let’s enjoy a little bit of the season!

Lauren Drinkwater
Graduate Assistant
Counseling Center

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Hunger Games: Finals Week – May the Odds be Forever in Your Favor

 Welcome to the 150th Hunger Games! You have been selected as tribute in the next week of final exams throughout your courses, may the odds be ever in your favor. While you will be on your own for the exams, you should remember these few tips to help you study, and ease your mind while you are preparing. Take note of what you can do to help you make it through to the other end, and become the next Hunger Games champion!

Don’t Panic

Finals are here! Take a couple breaths and remember don’t stress! The best thing you can do is to study smarter, not harder! Study your material in chunks, and not cram. Make a study schedule for the next few weeks to help you build a good routinehunger
including classes, finals, eating, sleeping, etc. You will want a routine to help keep you less stressed, and remember that you can do well!

If Necessary, Get Help

You don’t need to fight through the finals arena alone!  It is important to make allies that are fighting inside the arena along with you, which would be your classmates.  They know your pain, as they are going through it with you, and you can team up to form a strong alliance that will help you both achieve your study goals.  It is important to pick allies that will help you achieve your study goals and not just your friends, remember there is a lot at stake in the finals arena.  Don’t forget about your sponsors in your time of need, remember that they can send game changing gifts down to the arena.  In the finals arena the sponsors are your professors and academic resources on campus, like the tutors from that Academic Achievement Center.  It is important to make sure that they see you during the vital stage before the fight through the arena begins.

Sleep

It is hard to find the time to sleep while fighting your way through the finals arena, but it is vital to your survival.  Your mind and body won’t have the energy it needs to make it until the end if you are not giving it its proper rest.  The night before each of your big battles it is more important to get your proper rest than it is to stay up preparing all night.  If you show up to the fights sleepy and off your “A Game” than you will surely not arise from the finals arena as a victor.

Start early

Real, or not real? Unfortunately, just like Peta’s paranoia, finals do exist. So, the best way to get through them is to start preparing early. This means go to tutoring, check out the library, open that text book you have refused to acknowledge all semester. Review your notes. Do all the things. You should start preparing for finals 5-7 days in advance. District 1 didn’t make itself in a day, and we’d all love to hide out in District 13 bunker until finals are over, but… you can’t. So, 5-7 days in advance. 20-45 minutes at a time, every day, per subject. Give yourself breaks, eat well, sleep well, go to the gym. Take care of yourself, so that you can perform at your best.

Has anyone seen Finnick? … Odair he is! In the library!

Relax

hunger2Take a deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count to five slowly on the inhale, count to five slowly on the exhale. Now, repeat 5 times. What are you doing to take downtime during finals week? We all know that Katniss spends 95% of her time saving the world, and 5% of her time on everything else. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about saving the world. You do have to worry about saving yourself – from yourself. DO NOT: pull an all nighter, study for more than an hour without at least a 10 minute break, stress-eat/drink/whatever-it-is-you-do. Be your best self. Run, eat well, lift weights, socialize, journal, draw, reflect, sit quietly, and listen to music [Adele playing in the background]. Chances are you have gotten through similar situations. Think about what has worked for you in the past? What is working now? Do more of those things. What hasn’t worked or is making you more stressed out? Do less of those things.

You’re in for the fight now, so may the odds be ever in your favor. Remember you can be the new Hunger Games champion if you start your studying now, get some sleep, and relax. Take advantage of all resources that you may need in the next few weeks, it is the gifts from your sponsors (or campus resources) that will help you get the best grade you can and be the 150th Hunger Games winner.

Graduate Assistant: Eddie Lomash
Learning Specialists: Tabatha Beck & Jeremy Boettinger

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