Everyone knows that the most stressful time to be a college student is during finals week. Anxiety rates in college students are at an all-time high. Somewhere between pulling all-nighters, working to pay for their degree, and meeting social expectations, college students have forgotten to put their mental and physical health first.
Implementing self-care tactics in your daily life can lower your overall stress level. We asked some students and campus resources to share their most helpful self-care strategies.
1. Meet Your Basic Daily Needs
Meeting the requirements that your body needs, even when you are under a lot of stress and pressure, can help lower your anxiety level and allow you to think clearly and perform well. Most college students don’t get enough sleep. Keeping a regular sleep pattern keeps you in control. Getting enough sleep can help you fight off colds, and improve your mood. The biggest endorphin boost and ‘natural high’ is exercise. Getting to the gym a few times a week benefits your mental and physical health in so many ways. A healthy and balanced diet is also key to keeping your mind and body in check even when you’re stressed out. Lastly, taking care of your body by showering, brushing your teeth, and washing your hair regularly makes you feel good and protecting you from illness. And, of course, if you need to talk to someone, Counseling and Health Services has counselors available.
2. Find your Creative Outlet
Whether your passion is drawing, singing, or dancing, getting creative is a great way to distract yourself from overwhelming assignments. We have dance, theater, singing, and other creative groups on campus If the fine arts aren’t your thing, try baking something for the first time, or rearranging your desk or dorm space. These activities not only offer an outlet for any negative energy, but also provide rewarding outcomes.
3. Get Outside
Vikings have the luxury of a five-minute walk to the water. Being outside for at least 15 minutes a day can help ease anxiety, boost your focus, and reduce overall feelings of stress. We are especially lucky to be footsteps from ocean views. Being outside also benefits your immune system. No one wants to have the flu during finals!
4. Take Beneficial Study Breaks
Try to focus on activities that best benefit you and others when taking a break. Instead of mindlessly binge-watching Netflix for a few hours (although we’ve all done it), try spending time with a friend. Take a walk to downtown Salem or explore different waterfronts nearby. Getting off campus for a short amount of time can help relieve some stress. Listen to your favorite songs and sing along. Watch a funny movie or YouTube video, you could probably use a good laugh! Lastly, call your mom or a family member! Talking to loved ones while you’re away at school is a great reminder of why you’re here, and motivation to work hard.
5. Give Yourself Credit!
You’ve been working hard all semester long, and you deserve a pat on the back. One of the best forms of self-care is self-reflection. Instead of being overwhelmed by tests coming up, take a look back at the semester and recognize all that you’ve accomplished. Write down a list of things you’re proud of, and your confidence will grow. You’ll be ready to tackle final papers and exams. If you’ve had one or two bad exams, self-reflect on what you could have done better. Apply these tools to your finals, and you’ll be unstoppable.