Updated: Apr 17
As we approach our final month of classes, many of us are feeling burned out, mentally drained, and simply exhausted. On top of that, April typically seems to be one of the busiest months of the school year with preparation for finals, graduation, involvement in student organizations, etc. So how do we navigate this final push? And how do we save ourselves from experiencing complete mental burnout?
Mental health is something that I have been learning to prioritize over the last few years and am constantly trying to improve. Having a strong mental health will allow you to be the best version of yourself in school, relationships, and your everyday life. Prioritizing things that bring you joy and make you feel good will have more of an impact on your overall mental state than you think and allow you to navigate stressful situations easier, such as finals week.
The first step is finding out what works best for you. Everybody is different and part of your mental health journey is recognizing what does and doesn’t work for you. Here are a few things that work best for me to combat the feeling of being overwhelmed with school and life in general.
1. Lean on your support system
Something that I struggle with a lot is choosing to keep all of my stress and emotions bottled up. We often forget that chances are, the people you are surrounded by are feeling the same type of way you are. Use this to your advantage and communicate with people around you. Lean on the people that you know are there for you. Your roommates, your family, your friends from home, etc. Bottling up your stress and emotions will cause you more unnecessary stress and most of the time, talking through things with people may make things seem not as big as they do in your head.
2. Break things down
With most of us taking anywhere from 15-20 credits, the constant course load can become overwhelming. What I found works best for me is starting with the small things before attacking the bigger things. Getting those weekly quizzes, discussion posts, etc., out of the way first will allow you to cross things off your to-do list, start feeling motivated/productive, and leave yourself more time to study, work on papers, and presentations.
3. Don’t forget about your physical health!
Take some time out of your day for some physical activity, even if you feel like you don’t have time. Whether it's a full-body workout at the gym or a 10 minute walk outside your house, I can guarantee you will feel better after releasing some endorphins and taking time to be active!
4. Start early (Your future self will thank you)
I know we are all guilty of procrastinating every now and then (myself included), but I promise you, it will save you from a lot of stress in the future. Studying for a little everyday leading up to your exams will allow you to feel more comfortable in the material and save yourself from the stress of last minute cramming.
5. Reward yourself
Lastly, my favorite is to celebrate small victories and constantly reward yourself. Make an effort to do something you love, just because, everyday. This can be treating yourself to a Starbucks coffee, watching an episode of your favorite comfort show, ordering take-out from your favorite restaurant, going for a drive to listen to your favorite music, etc. The list is endless!
Although finals week and school is an extremely stressful and important time of year, remember that school is not everything. At the end of the day your mental health and well-being should be your top priority.