Student lying on the couch with headphones looking peacefully at her phone.

The end of the semester can be an overwhelming time, whether you're studying for finals, preparing for graduation or heading home for the summer. Engaging in self-care allows us to take care of ourselves and can bring us back to center when we start to feel stressed, off-track or burnt out.

Here are 6 self-care tips that can help you finish strong this semester.

1: Create and discuss boundaries

Whether you’re studying for finals or working on group projects, it can be helpful to set boundaries with your family or roommates. Take some time to talk through your schedule, expectations and things you need to feel supported for the end of the semester.

For instance, you may need to hang a “do not disturb” sign on your bedroom door when you’re studying. If you study in a common space, try to coordinate your schedules so everyone can study successfully and enjoy quality time together. This may also be a good time to review or create a living agreement in preparation for finals. These types of agreements can be a great tool to help you outline rules, expectations and get everyone on the same page.

2: Get some sleep

Sleep is important for our physical, mental and immune health. Try to stick to a sleep schedule that allows you to get 7-9 hours each night. Turning off your devices and holding off on caffeine later in the day can help you get more quality sleep.

As finals approach, it can also be tempting to stay up all night studying. However, studies have shown that this can be harmful to our performance and success long-term. Avoid cramming and pulling all-nighters by starting now. Break large projects or lengthy study guides into smaller, more manageable pieces. Plan out your time for each class to keep you on schedule while preserving your sleep.

3: Stick to a routine

Transitions can be hard. As we approach the end of the year, keep up your usual routine whenever possible. Try to wake up at the same time each day and follow a schedule. It can be helpful to use a planner or calendar app to help you map out your time throughout the day. For instance, you can write down study periods, breaks and other activities, such as socializing with family, reconnecting with friends or practicing self-care.

4: Get moving

Engaging in physical activity can help improve our mental and physical health. It’s also great for releasing stress and tension.

Experiment with different forms of movement to find what brings you the most joy. While activities like running, jogging, walking, biking, dancing and yoga are popular forms of fitness, it’s also okay to think outside the box. Consider alternatives like ice skating, stretching or playing spike ball.

You can also join the Rec Center for Free Finals Week from Apr. 30 through May 5. 

5: Stay connected with friends and family

Wherever you’re finishing out the semester, it’s important to stay connected with loved ones. Reach out to your friends, family or classmates regularly to check in and catch up. Having a set time each week to reconnect can be helpful. Plus, it’s great to have something to look forward to each week. 

6: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is here for you. They provide drop-in services through e-Let's Talk, which allows you to connect virtually with a CAPS counselor for a brief consultation. Let's Talk counselors can help provide insight, solutions and information on additional resources. CAPS also provides weekly workshops that address a variety of topic areas, including stress management, relationships, healthy living and more. 

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