Written by Mehak Dureja, SDSU Chapter Member
When pursuing a degree in the sciences, we often forget that our health is more important than our grades.
We let the rigorous classes we’re taking get to us, and we begin to prioritize our to do lists over our personal health. We sit in the library talking to our classmates, having some sort of twisted competition about who is the most exhausted, like getting the least amount of sleep out of everyone is an achievement. Trust me, I have witnessed this culture, but I have realized that participating in it is an unhealthy way to manage my time and stress levels.
As the semester comes to a close, I have been reflecting on how I have been treating myself and, in all honesty, I could be doing better. With finals coming up, I am making it my personal goal to improve my self care efforts, so here is a simple list of self care habits I’ve put together to help us all take better care of ourselves:
1. Treat yourself
After studying for an exam for hours, go out and treat yourself! Whether that be eating your favorite food or doing something fun with your friends, taking the time to reward yourself for your efforts will keep you motivated to continue working hard.
2. Take a walk or exercise
Studies have shown that exercise improves your mental performance and your ability to fall (and stay) asleep. I know that some days there isn’t time for the recommended “60 minutes of exercise”, but giving yourself even just 5-10 minutes of movement will help you in the long run! So, after you finish that chapter, leave the library and take a lap around your campus before you attempt to tackle the next one.
This may only be for some people, but I have noticed that I personally feel more at peace when I read something that actually interests me. It calms me down and helps me clear my mind before I have to go back to my ochem textbook and decipher those carbon structures.
4. Calling family or friends
Sometimes just talking to someone who you don’t see in your day-to-day life can lower your stress levels because it takes your mind off of your current situation. It allows you to reminisce on the last time you saw that person, or plan out what you’re going to do next time you’re together. Focusing on something that is not directly related to school gives your brain a chance to rest!
Writing about how your week is going or how you have been feeling can help reduce your stress levels. You can even write simple things like a quote you found on Pinterest that you liked, or a list of things you need to do that’s on your mind. Write however and whatever you want, the only rule is to make sure you’re not bottling anything up- because holding onto things could stress you out even more.
With those 5 things in mind, let’s gear up for finals, ladies!