Taking Care of Yourself at the End of the Year

Taking Care of Yourself at the End of the Year

Rachel Bell, Messenger Reporter

School’s almost out, and that’s definitely something to be excited about. But with such an exciting time comes a stressful time. It’s finals season. Students have finals, AP exams, end of course exams, and for upperclassmen, prom to worry about. For seniors, graduation is just around the corner. It’s a lot to think about, and it’s all important. However, we as students often forget another very important thing: our health, both mental and physical. It’s a very stressful time of the year, so here are some tips and tricks on how to balance your life as summer is swiftly approaching.

Sleep is your best friend. We like to stay up past midnight, but teenagers really need nine hours of sleep. Challenge yourself to go to bed an hour earlier than you usually do. It may sound preachy, but it works. Afternoon naps are great too. Grab your favorite blanket and sprawl out of your favorite couch; after a long day at school, you deserve it. You can do homework after dinner.

Next, eat a balanced diet. Proteins are really good for energy that won’t make you crash later, and that’s exactly what we need for late-night study sessions (on weekends, when you don’t have to get up early the next day). Carbs are everywhere, and they’re good in moderation, but don’t overload, because those are the foods that do cause crashes. Instead of chips, eat graham crackers and put peanut butter on them if you so choose. Drink water instead of soda. Cut down on the caffeine. You’ll be glad you did when you’re not passed out during your AP Lang exam. That all being said, don’t cut out everything you enjoy. Et Cetera Coffeehouse is a great place to meet friends and study, and there’s nothing wrong with getting a coffee and crumb cake to sate your appetite.

Treat yourself. Take a bubble bath, play a video game, or watch Netflix for a while. It’s important to study, but brain burnout can be worse than not studying at all. An afternoon drive never hurt anyone. Have a picnic with friends. Go shopping with your parents. Get away from the study book for a while. Studies have shown that studying for short periods of time with even shorter breaks is the best method to retain knowledge. Taking a break to watch a cat video is more helpful than not, it turns out.

Take life one step at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself. Yes, school is important, but so is your health. They go hand-in-hand, so find a balance between them that works for you. Everyone is different. A 27 on the ACT and good mental health is better than a 36 and chronic anxiety. Your friends are going through the same stress, so remember to be supportive, and they will be in return. School is almost out, so have hope. Things will be okay, no matter how it feels right now. Stress is a powerful force, but a little positive stress can be a great motivator. Just don’t let it consume you.