Campus Cope: managing self-care, whether too much or too little

Archive / Highlander

As we near the end of the quarter, stress is once again at an extreme high. Finals are rapidly approaching and students are looking to find ways to relieve the stress that comes with it. This stress relief is often found in various forms of self-care, which can be a healthy thing for a college student if it is balanced well with work and studies. However, some students indulge in self-care to the extent that they are no longer productive and end up procrastinating and leave their work unfinished. If you or a loved one identify as one of these people, here are some tips on coping with the impulse of overindulging and, on the other side of the spectrum, the neglect from cutting yourself off from self-care.

Making a Schedule

One way to deal with too much self-care is to manage your time with a planner. Many students have a planner with its main use being for assignments, as staying aware of your weekly tasks can help buffer procrastination. In addition to having assignments and tests in your planner, you should use it to plan your leisure time as well. If your schedule allows for a large break, you’ll be inclined to use it to get work done, instead of delaying it. You will be able to know exactly how much time you have for each responsibility. For those students who can’t stick to a physical planner, there are apps for your phone or a calendar that work just as well, and you can set reminders which may help you stick to your plan better than a paper planner would. The notifications from your planner will remind you that your break time is over and that you need to get back to work. 

Reward Yourself

For many students, once they start to relax, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get back to work. One way to combat this is by giving yourself a reward whenever you finish a task. For example, if you have a thousand word essay due, after half of the essay you earned an episode of your show, or up to the commercial break of that show. This works with music, snacks, naps or any reward that will motivate you to finish that small task. As long as the reward is not too big for the corresponding task, you can use this technique to inspire yourself to work. This means if your assignment is due soon, your rewards have to be shorter or smaller. You can not reward yourself for merely five minutes of work with a two-hour movie, otherwise, there is no real amount of productivity. Self-care makes for an excellent reward to a long study session.

Mini Multitasking

Depending on what you do for self-care you can try multitasking your work and leisure! This one is a little harder because if you try certain things you may get distracted from your work. However, some people use face masks to unwind. If this is the case, you can do facemasks and work at the same time. Some people also take baths to destress, which is a good time to catch up on reading for your classes but still have it be enjoyable. Some people also work out as a form of stress relief and self-care. If those people need to study, one way to approach it is to record your professor’s lectures (with their permission) and listen to the lecture while you work out rather than music. Try to stick with simple objectives to multitask with or you will not actually be doing well in either. 

Self-care is important for the health of students in a world of stress. Just be sure not to overindulge yourselves in it too much, or it could become an issue. Good luck Highlanders!

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