Written by Shanique Foster
It's so easy to forget about yourself and your wellbeing when you feel like you have a million other more important things to do. However, it's important to take care of yourself first so that you can perform well academically. Here are a few practical tips that you can incorporate into your study routine to make the pain of exams a bit easier!
1. Use a planner
As students, it's not unusual to be juggling work, school, extracurricular activities, and other obligations at the same time. Writing down your due dates is a great way to stay organized and keep your stress levels low. If you're someone who loves stationary and paper products, there are a wide range of planners out there that can make planning fun. There are always cheaper (and free!) alternatives. You can use a regular sheet of paper, an empty notebook, or even the to-do list feature on your electronic device. There also exists a wide range of free planning sheets on websites like Pinterest, making staying organized easy and budget-friendly.
2. Surround yourself with other people
During especially busy periods, I am 100% guilty of not doing this enough. I often isolate myself from the outside world when I have a lot on my plate, which usually makes me feel worse. Sometimes seeing another human face or having a ten second conversation with a stranger can be enough to brighten your mood. This can take several forms, such as studying with people in your classes, hanging out with friends, having a phone conversation, or going to a coffee shop. Conversely, I sometimes find that having too much social interaction can be very overwhelming. When this happens, I feel the need to recharge my batteries by spending time with myself. It’s all about balance!
3. Do something physical
Reviewing for an exam usually means sitting down for several hours at a time. Not only are you likely to lose focus, but being in the same position can get uncomfortable. Taking a break by doing a quick stretch can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to continue on with your study session. You can even incorporate a physical activity that you enjoy doing into your self-care routine, such as yoga, swimming, playing a sport, etc. For most schools, students pay mandatory school fees which cover services such as recreational programming. You're already paying for it, so might as well get your money's worth by attending group fitness classes, using the school pool, or heading to the gym for a quick workout after class.
October also happens to be International Walk to School Month, an initiative aimed at encouraging students to safely get to and from school by foot. Switch things up by participating! Walking is a natural stress reliever, and there's also the added bonus of getting to explore your neighbourhood. Try walking to school one day, or if you take the bus, getting off one stop before your usual one. Not only will you be doing something that's great for your health, but you'll also get to take in the beautiful fall colours around you.
4. Do whatever it is that you want to do!
Self-care looks different for everyone. You know yourself better than anyone else does, so give your body and your mind what you feel it needs in that moment! Maybe you like to take a mental break by watching your favourite TV show, curling up with a good book, eating your favourite foods, or going shopping (you can never have enough Wear Your Label threads!). Sometimes self-care means doing nothing at all and having a slow Sunday in bed. Whatever you choose to do, I hope it brings you some relief from the demands of school. We are students, but it's important to remember that we are people first.
Whether you've finished your exams or you haven't started them yet, I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the semester!