Dear Miss Meghan,
Finals are around the corner and I’ve managed to procrastinate for most of the semester. So how do I manage the stress of finals now?
Take care of yourself! Everyone should have a few things they find enjoyable and healthy that they can qualify as self care.
The key to managing the stress of finals and big papers at the end of the semester is simply balancing time management and taking care of yourself.
Self care goes hand in hand with proper time management, and should differ from person to person. Some people read when they are stressed, while others need to go for a run. Some need to take a nap or watch some TV alone, and others need to socialize and hang out with friends.
One person may need to go to a yoga class, another will stalk some people on Facebook, while another likes to clean. What is important is that your self care is healthy for you (and no, going out binge drinking is not healthy self care).
Make a list of 10 things you can do as “self care” and hang the list somewhere you will see it, or better yet put the list as the background on your phone.
There is a familiar saying that comes to mind, “Procrastination is like masturbation.
In the end you only end up screwing yourself.” My counter to that, usually when I am in the middle of putting something off to the last minute, is always what’s so wrong with screwing yourself? It feels good, you know what you like best, and it probably takes less work when you do it yourself.
Taking a few minutes to self-pleasure, especially when stressed, can be great self care and may provide the endorphin release you need to help energize and refocus your attention back on you paper or studying that you need to finish. This isn’t for everyone though, but figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself in a healthy manner.
Good time management is also different for each person. For some, developing a fairly detailed plan of the final two weeks of when you will study, when you will work on that big paper, when you will sleep, time to eat, and when you will take breaks helps them feel in control of the stress.
Others might find that writing a plan down makes the tasks ahead daunting, so they work better by taking on one task at a time until it is finished, and then moving on to the next thing due. I have had classmates that need to write papers weeks in advance, and others who wait until the last minute.
I have seen both methods work well for some, and fail for others. The key is to know what will work for you to be the most successful.
Sincerely writing this at the very last minute,