10 Acts Of Self-Care To Utilize During Finals Season

10 Acts Of Self-Care To Utilize During Finals Season

Self-care should be a constant practice in our daily lives. It's not "treating yo self" to do good things for your body, mind, and soul, especially during the end of a semester.

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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!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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If Your Shorts From Last Summer Don't Fit This Spring, Don't Panic Just Yet

Sometimes sucking it in doesn't even cut it.

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We've all been there — you put on a pair of shorts that fit you like a glove last year and they just don't fit the way you remembered. This feeling sucks, but there are plenty of solutions for when your favorite pieces can't quite fit over the love handles.

First off, there's nothing to be ashamed of! It's normal for people to pack on a few extra pounds during the cold months due to lack of outdoor activity, holidays, and overall laziness. Usually, people lose a little extra weight in the summer months by being outside and sweating and eating fresher and healthier foods. So who knows, by the time summer is in full swing, they may fit again!

The obvious answer would be to work out, but I understand that's not for everyone. For those who are looking into getting back into shape for bikini season, a good mix of cardio and lifting three to five days a week will help tone and slim that body down in no time! Make sure that if you start exercising, eat enough nutrients! Some people tend to think if they eat less and work out, it'll help you lose more weight, and yes this is true, but you'll also be losing muscle mass in the long run and this can be detrimental to your health. Getting sufficient nutrients is vital to making sure your body is functioning properly!

For those of you who don't necessarily want to do any formal exercise, eat healthier and go on walks! It's amazing what adding a walk into your day will do for your body! Not only will it help your heart health, but it will tone your legs and help shed some extra pounds. Eating healthy is also pivotal to getting rid of unwanted fat. Diet fads are definitely no way to go. It's not about eating less necessarily but eating what's good for you. Everyone's bodies are different and it will take some figuring out to find what works for you. There are plenty of yummy fruits and veggies in season in the summer, and there's plenty of opportunities to grill out and make some healthy options! Take advantage of this! Whether you're grilling low carb meats and fish or throwing on some veggies for a side dish, grilling is a great way to make healthy meals for you and your family!

For those of you who are fine with the little extra weight you've gained, buy new clothes! Picking out and trying on new clothes can be very fun, but also expensive. If it's not in the budget to head to your favorite retailer and pick out a new pair, head to a thrift store! There are plenty of second-hand options that are not only affordable and cute but environmentally sustainable as well! The fashion industry creates so much unnecessary waste year after year, and you can help cut down by buying second-hand.

With all of this being said, love your body! There are so many different shapes and sizes in the world, and not one person is the same as another, so be proud of what you look like! Whether you're a size XS or a size XXL, everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin. If you're not comfortable with what you look like and wish you could change it, do it! The great thing about our bodies is they're so easy to make changes to. Whatever the case, the weather is warming up and it's almost time to trade those sweats for some shorts and bathing suits!

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