Remote Finals Are Exhausting, Remember Self-Care

As we prepare for our final projects, last exams, or something in between, it is more important now than ever to remember that, while finals are important, taking care of ourselves is essential to success. While the impending doom of finals feels less daunting when students aren’t huddled together in packs in the Science Center, the stress still exists. Spending all day in front of a screen can be exhausting, especially now that classes are remote. It can feel like we move from class to class without moving at all — 11 a.m. becomes 4 p.m., and 4 p.m. becomes 10 p.m., and then the day starts all over again. While this bleak observation sounds a bit too much like The Truman Show, there are plenty of ways to combat the end-of-semester blues. I’ve compiled a few ideas for how to de-stress, take care of yourself, and step away from virtual school for an hour a day. 

The new season of Queer Eye just premiered on Netflix last week and it is a home run. Antoni, Jonathan Tan, Bobby, and Karamo can help us all through finals with their love, laughs, and simple but serious life lessons. This season, the Fab Five hit Austin, a city full of some of the most charming individuals the show has ever seen. From a hip, dancing grandma to a shy, stuck-in-his-ways cowboy, this season really has something for everyone. Write it off all you want, but an episode of Queer Eye is my go-to show for an hour of de-stressing. 

If TV isn’t your thing, it’s always nice to make a favorite meal for yourself and someone you love. Even if you aren’t well-acquainted with the kitchen, anything from a classic boxed mac and cheese to a simple stir fry can turn 20 minutes of downtime into a well-earned meal. Having an activity to pour yourself into can really help take your mind off of the looming stress, and cooking also helps solve the problem of the I’m-so-stressed-I-forgot-to-eat finals syndrome. 

If all else fails, journal. Let it out. Release a written scream. Put a pen to paper and go wild scribbling down all the thoughts you’ve had crammed inside your head over these past few weeks. Blowing off some steam might help you refocus on yourself and your priorities heading into finals, plus you won’t be looking at a screen

In a similar vein, try picking up that book you’ve been eyeing for forever but haven’t gotten the chance to get to yet. Reading is another way to break away from screens and dive into an entirely new world. For book recommendations, I would check out the list of the 125 best books of the past 125 years by The New York Times or take a look at your best friend’s Good Reads. 

To top it all off, give your bedtime ritual a little extra love these next few weeks. Allow yourself 30 minutes to an hour before bed to really decompress. Check out some guided meditations (I recommend the app Headspace), read, use the facemask you’ve been saving for a rainy day, or do a crossword puzzle. 

The most important ingredient to a successful finals week truly is self-care. Start your day with a refreshing face wash, lay off the jittery caffeine, let yourself breathe a little, and give yourself that extra dose of confidence we all need sometimes.