9 Tips For Getting Through Finals When You Have Depression
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Health and Wellness

9 Tips For Getting Through Finals When You Have Depression

No, I'm not going to tell you to exercise.

9 Tips For Getting Through Finals When You Have Depression

Living with depression in college feels a lot like walking up the down escalator; you put in so much work and so much of your energy but you can’t seem to move forward, if not backward. And once finals roll around and everything you’ve been putting off all semester is due, depression and anxiety can become pretty debilitating. This list won’t include things like exercise, stay organized, remember to breathe!!!

Even though those are all very important, this list is not for people looking to excel, I’m not giving tips on thriving during finals. This is about making it through which, sometimes, is perfectly enough.

1. Communicate with your professors.

If your absences are piling up or there’s an assignment you know you can’t turn in on time, reaching out to your professor never hurts. Tell them what's going on with you and they’re most likely going to understand and try to work with you so you can get the highest grade possible. If they don’t, at least you were proactive and you know that you did all you could.

2. Half-assing it is better than not doing it at all.

“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” Scholars and English nerds alike are cursing me for perpetuating the abuse of this commonly misinterpreted G.K. Chesterton quote but, intended meaning aside, this is important to remember. Deadlines approach faster than you realize and in a lot of instances, some professors won’t accept late work. Anxiety will tell you that it needs to be perfect and depression will tell you that it’s never going to be perfect so why bother turning it in any way? But you have to remind yourself that a 50 is worlds better than a zero. Do what you can and get it turned in.

3. Self-care isn’t just eating ice cream and binging Netflix.

Yes, self-care can be treating yourself to Campus Cookies for the third time that week or re-watching the entire first season of Westworld. But sometimes self-care is getting out of bed and taking a shower, meditating or doing yoga, cleaning your room, cooking yourself a good meal, or making yourself go to class. Instant gratification is fun but temporary. Real self-care can be hard, but it’s always going to make everything better in the end.

4. If you can’t beat ‘em, go the hell to sleep.

When it’s 2 a.m. and you’ve been writing and rewriting the same paragraph of your essay for the last 20 minutes, it’s best to just go to sleep. You know yourself and your limits, staying up when you know you won’t get any more work done will hurt more than help. If your work is time sensitive, get up early and finish it after getting at least some amount of rest.

5. Force yourself to focus.

Focusing on things you don’t want to do is hard for everyone, let alone for those with depression. Set up a system! Set a timer and work for 25 minutes, then set a timer for a 15-minute break. If you keep going like that you won’t feel overwhelmed knowing that you have another break soon and you’ll be done before you know it. Or for those of us with less self-control but who still want to succeed, StayFocusd can become your best frenemy. This insanely helpful app blocks distracting websites for a set amount of time and will not let you use them until the time is up. Twitter and that next episode of How I Met Your Mother will still be around when you’re done with that paper.

6. Give yourself extra time.

Take it from someone who will spend 4 hours doing 30 minutes worth of work, not allotting yourself enough time to study or finish an assignment is an easy mistake to make. Now is not the time to all of a sudden resolve to utilize your time better; it’s unlikely that your work habits will change instantaneously and you won’t leave yourself enough time to finish. Sometimes it’s okay to spend longer than necessary on an assignment. Just make sure you give yourself that extra time and a little bit of understanding. Worried you’re going to miss out on while you’re studying? Try your best to remember that everyone else has finals, too. No one is going to think you’re a bad friend or forget about you, they’re probably just as busy.

7. Try to regulate your eating habits.

Finding the time and motivation to eat well is a struggle. You have two papers and three exams to worry about, who has time for food? On the opposite end of the spectrum, vending machine binges and the aforementioned Campus Cookie deliveries have never been so appealing. No matter if you’re a stress eater or someone who can’t stomach more than a bite or two when under pressure, try and make regular and healthy eating a priority. Your mind, body, and test scores will sincerely thank you.

8. Forgive yourself.

At some point, you’re going to mess up. You’ll turn in an assignment late, fail a test, miss the bus to class. And if you struggle with depression, small mistakes can lead to negative thoughts and serious self-criticism. As easy as it is to fall into a spiral of self-loathing, beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you fix them next time. You need to believe you’re worth the effort if you want to do better.

9. Ultimately, everything is going to be okay.

It’s not fun to think about, but sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes, despite your best effort, you fail your exam or you don’t turn in that important essay. When you struggle with depression, tunnel vision can be a real problem. Things go south and it’s hard not to feel like it’s the end of the world.

But the bright side of that is, no matter how much it feels like it, it never is. The sun keeps shining, the world keeps turning, and there are always going to be more chances to succeed. Be kind, you're doing the best you can.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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