With the added stress and busyness of exam season, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself. This year, remember to put yourself at the top of your priorities list. Here are ten acts of self-care to help you this finals season and always.

1. Create and stick to a skincare routine

According to one of my favorite YouTubers, Rowena Tsai, skincare is self-care and self-care is skincare. There is nothing more refreshing or calming than going through my skincare routine right before a long day or immediately after one. I have found that even if I'm breaking out, sticking to a routine helps my skin feel better and allows me to think better about myself. A skincare routine can be as short or long as you want! For most people, it consists of a face wash, toner, moisturizer, spot treatment, and a mask/exfoliator to use every few days. By no means do I have a perfect complexion, but I will list a few of the products that have really helped improve my skin below.

Clean and Clear Dual Action Moisturizer

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleaner

Alba Acnedote Face and Body Scrub (use every couple days)

Pixi Glow Tonic (as a spot toner and spot treatment)

2. Start studying in bits now

There is nothing more stressful than cramming for finals. It can be avoided by starting to make study guides and flashcards now. You'll be starting to review the material while creating the guides that will help you study later on. You should be able to study at a relaxed pace, so do something nice for your future self and get a head start! Try searching "organized notes" on Pinterest for some motivation.

3. Declutter 

Clear your mind by first clearing your space. Then, hold yourself accountable for keeping it that way. A rule of thumb is to put something back in its place immediately after use if it will take you less than 30 seconds to do so. Also, consider decluttering your social media. Unfollow/unfriend anyone whose content doesn't serve a purpose in your life. If they don't make you happy, inspire you, make you laugh, etc., their posts shouldn't be taking up your valuable time.

4. Invest in a plant

I have to recommend a succulent because they are just so easy to care for, but any plant works! There's something about keeping something living that reminds us of the importance in caring for ourselves. Every day that plant continues to live is an accomplishment!

5. Unplug for an hour

Our lives have been taken over by technology, and I especially am guilty of constantly resorting to Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, or even Facebook when I'm stressed out. There are plenty of apps to limit your social media usage, but two free ones are Moment and Flipd. Personally, physically separating myself from my phone just creates unnecessary stress. Yet putting it on silent and mindfully staying off it is completely feasible. One thing to do while unplugging is visiting a cute local coffee shop and read a book, people watch, or just think while sipping coffee.

6. Do something kind for someone else

Acts of kindness can be so rewarding for both the doer and receiver of the act. During busy seasons, it is so easy to forget about others in their busy season. An act of kindness can be grabbing an extra coffee for a friend, complimenting someone (challenge yourself to dig deeper than their physical appearance), or remembering to check in with others about how their exams are going and really listening to them.

7. Retail therapy

Shopping is one of my favorite forms of relaxation. I find that I completely focus on what I'm looking at rather than everything else going on in my life. In moderation, shopping can be a great form of self-care. Around this time of year, many of us also have to shop for others so it's a great way to multitask by relaxing and also checking something off your to-do list.

8. Try an adult coloring book

What better way to care for yourself than coloring like we did back when we had so little to worry about. Coloring is a genuinely calming activity that is so engrossing. It requires you to focus on sticking to patterns and coloring in the lines. The best part is it can also double as cute room decor!

9. Go for a walk

We have such a beautiful campus that I definitely forget to take advantage of on my walks to class. Going outside for some fresh air (after bundling first!) can clear the mind and allow us to really appreciate our surroundings without being rushed to get anywhere.

10. Bake something

Baking is the ideal way to intermix studying and breaks, and you get a sweet treat at the end! As soon as you put your cookies or brownies in the oven, you can study until it's done and then again until it's cooled. Self-care can be indulging in something unhealthy once in a while. Everyone needs a "pick me up" every so often!

This finals season, remember to prioritize yourself. As important as your grades and GPA are, your physical and mental health have to come first. Place some or all of these tips in your studying schedule!