Maintaining Wellbeing During Exam Season
I, and many Simon Fraser University students, have been having a hard time lately. Not only have we been sunk into a global pandemic, turning our routines upside-down, but it is also midterms season, which adds another layer of stress onto all of us. It can be difficult for students to stay committed to self-care right now, but it is more important than ever.
One of the most important ways we can help ourselves right now is by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. I’m guilty of pushing this one to the side in favour of staying up past 3am studying or mindlessly scrolling through social media, but Harvard researchers state that our sleep habits have a direct result on our mental health. A habitual lack of sleep causes some people to develop depressive moods and increased anxiety (Harvard Health Publishing, 2019). So, even though it may seem better to stay up and study, it is so much more beneficial for our mental and physical wellbeing to get a few more hours of sleep and leave our studies for tomorrow.
Another way we can work on self-care during these times is to keep our hygiene consistent. When we’ve been sitting in the same spot for hours reading or watching our course material, we might start to feel a little grimy, which takes our focus away from what we’re doing. If you’re tight on time, just get up and have a drink of water, wash your face, and change out of that hoodie you might’ve been wearing for a few days in a row. If we feel good about our progress, then maybe it’s time to close the laptop and hop in the shower, or maybe even do a facemask. When we feel good on the outside, we feel a bit better on the inside too.
It’s also key to remember that it’s ok to take small breaks from studying. We all know that exam stress can be really overwhelming, and it can feel like it’s the end of the world if we don’t study for a while, but sometimes our brains just need to rest for a while. Remember that it’s okay to close your recorded lectures for a few hours and turn on your favourite crime show, call up your friends, or take a walk and get some fresh air. Once we give ourselves a break to relax, its easier to focus on our goals once we get back to studying.
All in all, just remember to take care of yourself right now. Times are tough, both with exams and the pandemic, but we’re all in this together.