4 Ways To Practice Self-Care When Finals Comes Around At UNC

4 Of The Best Ways For You To Practice Self-Care When Finals Seasons Comes Around At UNC

Yikes.

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When you have three grade-determining finals in a two day period, but not within 24 hours so you can't move any of them, it seems like the only thing you can do is grab a few strong coffees from PCJ and live in the UL for the next 3 weeks. Of course, you have to study and that's important, but you should remember to take a step back and practice some self-care because finals szn can get painfully overwhelming. As the self-proclaimed queen of self-care, here are some great tips to get you started:

1. Naps

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Naps have been scientifically proven to improve performance by giving a boost of energy to help you stay alert for the rest of the day. Most sleep scientists recommend 30-minute naps; however, I say why stop there? Go for 2 hours, 3 hours, or however long it truly takes to avoid committing to every responsibility you have. It's all in the name of self-care.

2. Treat Yo' Self

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Tom and Donna were really onto something here. Finals are HARD and there are SO many of them in such a short period of time. Taking breaks between studying has also been proven to improve academic/work performance because it allows you to take some time away from what you're doing and come back to it with a fresh mind.

I recommend using these breaks very productively, such as taking a quick ice cream or coffee break on Franklin St. or using this time to extensively plan out every tiny detail of that vacation to Europe that you're going on this summer. Maybe if you spend enough time thinking about the Eiffel Tower, you can avoid taking your finals. Wishful thinking.

3. Face Masks

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I can't quite pinpoint when face masks became so trendy, but there are hundreds of them out there in every type. You have peel off, sheet masks, and even overnight face masks now (not exactly sure how they work, but does that mean you have to sleep on your back the whole night?) in every "flavor" you can imagine. All the ads promise clear skin or reduced stress, but the effectiveness of face masks is actually quite questionable.

However, you can't deny how fun (and time-consuming) peeling off the masks are, and when all you really want to do is pretend that you're not failing 6/4 classes this semester, time-consuming is what you want.

4. Drop Out

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This sounds extreme but hear me out: if you're not actually enrolled in a college, you don't have to take finals for the classes in that college. Self-care.

This is not in any way or form a definitive list of ways that you can take care of yourself this final seasons, but it's a beginning. Feel free to add your own forms of self-care. And if anyone can tell me how to pass Econ 101 or discrete math in the next three weeks, those tips are also much appreciated (this IS a cry for help, if that wasn't already clear).

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Taking Time For Yourself Is Nothing To Feel Guilty About, It's Healthy

Your emotional health should be your utmost priority — and you deserve to be in good emotional health.

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Renowned Sōtō Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki once said that: "We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves." We've often been told the opposite, however. We've been told that our worth is dependent on what we can do for others and that our existence itself is meant for the advancement of society. There is no place within our culture to truly exist with ourselves. The parts of our culture that claim to value self-love and self-care tend to commodify it in the form of relaxation products and personal development products — albeit helpful at times but mostly meant to addict us without true benefit to our inner selves.

As a young student, I talked with an orthopedic surgeon — a very overworked, ambitious woman — who told me to learn how to make it in the long haul, whether in my personal, interpersonal, or career life. You had to learn to enjoy yourself and find inner peace along the way. Because there would come a time, she said, when I would become guilty to take time for myself and forget what it's like to really enjoy life. Unfortunately, I made it to that point — I worked and worked and worked until I finally burned myself out. That's when I had to make certain changes in my life to understand how I got to that point and where I needed to go from there.

In the midst of our grand ambitions, it's easy to either go all in or all out. Either to give your entire self to a certain end or give nothing at all. I've been very much guilty of ending up on both ends of the spectrum — I would either devote all my time to writing/school or hit a roadblock and give it all up for a while. It felt like the value of my life was predicated on success, whatever that meant, in terms of contributing more and more and achieving more and more. It's never, ever enough, however. No matter what you achieve, there will always be a million more things on your to-do list. Whatever you triumph over, there will always be a million more roadblocks in your path.

The answer for me was to learn how to exist with myself, how to exist with other people, how to exist amidst all the dreams I had for the future, but also in the present moment where all my past dreams had come to fruition. Sometimes I would dive too deep into myself, and lose myself in thought, as noted in Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "Sometimes people use thought to not participate in life." But I learned to participate fully, each moment to moment not necessarily enjoyable, but I find enjoyable moments each day with my friends, dog, boyfriend, and myself alone with a book or a pen.

Oftentimes as a crisis counselor, I am asked the questions: What's the point? Why am I here? What is there to look forward to? It's hard for me to precisely answer that question because, frankly, no one has anyone answer. But here's an answer that I believe in, born of taking time for ourselves: we live to feel the hope for happiness again. We live for the moments of joy, contentment, relaxation, excitement, pleasure, love, happiness, everything. We live to experience and to find each other. We live on because each new moment brings a surprise. There are many, many good moments in the future for all of us, even amongst the bad.

It's impossible to really experience life, however, if we're unable to take time to ourselves. That's one of my greatest fears, actually, that life will pass me by and I won't be able to experience each day as a full and complete miracle. There's something lost when everyone else gains from commodifying all aspects of our lives. Are you going to keep living for everyone else, or will you learn to exist for yourself? Do you owe the world your entire self, or can you take back at least some of yourself right now? Is it selfish to feel happy and not only to suffer?

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