With just a few weeks left in the spring semester, everyone is talking about how brutal classes are, or are about to get.
With days at Boulder Reservoir and nights on Pearl Street calling from a not-so-distant summer, it gets harder to focus on the present without having a mental breakdown. While you may be wanting to cry just thinking about this struggle-fest you’re in the middle of, there are ways to make it all easier.
Here are five tips for staying sane at the end of the semester:
1. Make a daily to-do list
This time of the semester it can feel like every other day someone is making lists for all the stuff they have to do before finals week. We see the brow-sweat form and the hyperventilating begin as they list off the infinite number of tasks lying before them. Yes, the end of the semester is overwhelming, but there’s a way to make it manageable: to-do lists.
Every night before bed, make a list of all the things you have to do the next day. Not the next week, just the next day. Turning a never-ending list into just a few items will relieve your stress level and help you create a schedule to make sure everything gets done on time and you don’t space on something important.
2. Physical Activity
It’s amazing how much a 30-minute run or a spin on the bike can calm your mind. Not only is it a great excuse to take a break from powering through those hundred pages you have to read in one night, but focusing on a fun activity gets your blood flowing and endorphins pumping, lightening your mood. Don’t kid yourself, you aren’t eating too healthy this time of year anyway, so you owe it to your body.
If you can’t convince yourself to leave your laptop for a quick trip to the gym, doing about 10 minutes of stretching every morning and/or evening will do wonders. It will get you to breath and relax, and keep your muscles from getting too tight or stressed. Good recommends include some yoga or pilates, but even those old stretches you did in high school gym will do.
You woke up late, your printer is refusing to print that term paper due 10 minutes ago, and you’ve slept through a job interview you forgot about. You’re in such a bad mood that just a “good morning” from your roommate makes you want to fly into a murderous rampage…. First, please don’t kill anyone. Second, find something that will make you laugh.
The cliché states that laughter is the best medicine, and there’s truth in that. Take 30 minutes to watch an episode of 30 Rock, browse your favorite humor website while on the bus or call that one friend that always makes you laugh. When it all feels overwhelming, putting some comedy in your life serves as a reminder that things aren’t that bad.
4. Reward Yourself
My roommates live off the “reward system” and it does help your motivation levels when you’re staring down a mountain of school work. Plan to, and finish your reading by 10 p.m.? Go grab a drink at The Sink with a friend. Manage to sit still and study your flash-cards for a full hour? That earns you 15 minutes of Facebook stalking. Get an A on that test you studied days for? Go buy yourself something small you’ve been wanting.
It may sound silly, but the power of motivation shouldn’t be underestimated. When the due dates come closer and the number of assignments increases, finding something simple to make the work worthwhile can increase your productivity. If an abstract goal like a degree and maybe future employment is too hard to grasp when your falling asleep at your desk, pick something instant and concrete to keep pushing forward.
We’ve all seen classmates wandering zombie-like through campus after getting four hours of sleep in three days. It’s not pretty, and honestly, watching the sunrise from Norlin won’t help your GPA.
The idea of sacrificing time you could work on practice problems may seem outlandish, but getting at least six or seven hours of sleep will do your brain and body wonders in the long run. Being in your early 20’s, that one all-nighter probably won’t affect you too much, but there are still three weeks, plus finals left in the semester. Those hours sacrificed every night will add up fast, and when it comes time to cram for a final exam, your body might just shut down. We’re young, but not invincible. Your body needs sleep to repair and restore, so close that physics book and get into bed.
There you have it, five simple adjustments that could have huge effects on your mental state as school winds down. So, work hard, have fun and remember that summer is just around the corner.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Isa Jones at Alexandra.email@example.com.