It’s midterms week and I know you have a lot on your plate. Self-care is often the first thing to get deprioritized or even eliminated when important deadlines loom. Why? Because we tend to convince ourselves that self-care is a luxury that we can or should sacrifice in the service of better papers, exams, or grades. Ask yourself: would your future self endorse this point of view? What would you tell a friend who was sacrificing self-care in this way? Rather than being a luxury that can be sacrificed for better grades, sleep and nutrition are necessary for good performance! https://aasm.org/college-students-getting-enough-sleep-is-vital-to-academic-success/
Allow me to offer some encouragement, along with some helpful reminders:
Dr. Córdova (your DoS) in an email stated: Midterms aren't final grades. They comprise a portion of your final grade. While you should take them very seriously, you should also see them as an opportunity to check in: celebrate your strengths, identify your knowledge gaps, and make any necessary adjustments to your study strategies for the rest of the term.
Make sure you carefully follow instructions concerning proper citation and academic integrity. If you have questions about what your instructor expects on an assignment or how you should cite a source, always ask before you submit the assignment for a grade. If you are in trouble, better to ask for an extension and get a lower grade than to risk the penalty for academic integrity violations.
Consider the many ways in which you can manage stress and prioritize your self-care during the mid-terms crunch. If you typically rely on more caffeine and less sleep, I am here to remind you that you have other healthy options to get through it. I want to share two proven strategies for taking care of yourself that can sometimes be dismissed or overlooked: staying hydrated and taking breaks. Drinking low sugar or sugar free drinks as well as stopping to take some well-timed breaks will keep you feeling your best. Bored of water? Give it some flavor! I personally enjoy a squeeze of citrus. If you like your beverages cold, go ahead and add plenty of ice! Maybe you like fizz, so go ahead and opt for seltzer!
Now, let’s turn to the concept of deliberately taking regular breaks during the day. You’re not a machine that’s always “on” and there’s no need to be a hero. I’m here to tell you that you’ll actually be happier and work more effectively by taking some breaks. No guilt, no shame involved; I want you to feel good about allowing yourself some personal time in between meetings and other commitments. Read this far? Fill out this form and get a special wellness related item mailed to you!
I suggest you disengage from your computer and social media (especially during built-in breaks) for a short stretch and consider these ideas:
Take a power nap. Daytime dozing for 5-30 minutes has been shown to improve alertness and cognitive performance.
Move your body with some form of exercise.
Join a study break here: www.matheycollege.live
Do a brief guided meditation in a comfortable place away from your desk if possible: https://uhs.princeton.edu/health-resources/stress#audioguides.
Keep in mind that you have a lifetime of deadlines and important work ahead of you. You can use mid-terms season as an opportunity to practice healthier, more sustainable strategies for coping with stress, a big workload, and tight timelines. As you practice and discover what works best for you, it will get easier! And remember meese, you don’t have to do this alone!
Thinking of you,