May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and finals are just around the corner. So now is the perfect time to place extra focus on your well-being.
Joliet Junior College’s student wellness advocates from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities have several tips to help you manage your stress, especially as the semester is coming to a close.
Take time for self-care every day.
Take time to do what you love. It can be a hobby like arts and crafts or reading or something as simple as taking a walk or spending time with a friend. Even if it’s 30 minutes a day, it can make a big difference to your mental health.
Balance your time.
Create a schedule for yourself that includes time to study and time to relax. Try to set up a schedule at least two weeks before finals to avoid 'all-nighters' or binge studying.
Try the Pomodoro Technique, where you split your studying into 25-minute blocks with 5–10-minute breaks in between.
Set up your study space.
A clean and organized space can help you feel calm and focused. Set up a space where you can sit and study with your necessary supplies at hand. Include some items that can help you feel calm, such as lighting or trinkets that bring happiness and positive memories.
While it’s tempting to study on your bed or in a space shared with your family, these spaces can easily become distractions. If home is too distracting, consider studying in other locations such as on campus, the public library, a coffee shop, nature preserve or other locations where you can focus and have minimal distractions.
Perform an act of kindness.
Studies have shown that acts of kindness promote greater mental health and well-being. Do “one kind act” daily, even if it’s something small like giving a compliment. It will make a noticeable difference in your well-being.
See a mental health professional.
Make an appointment to see a student wellness advocate on campus. Counseling is a personal opportunity to receive support and experience growth during challenging times in life. It can help you deal with many personal topics such as relationships, school, anxiety and your goals.
Get up and move!
Engage in some daily movement. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout — you can go on a short walk, have a dance break, stretch or do any activity that moves your limbs and gets your blood flowing.
This helps with concentration and study fatigue. Engage in an activity that helps you take a 'tech break' and step away from screens.
Remember your basic needs.
During stressful times, it’s easy to forget to take care of your basic needs. Make sure to get some good rest, eat well and stay hydrated. Junk food and energy drinks may help momentarily but can lead to body crashes. Staying healthy and balanced will give you the energy you need during finals.
Studying doesn't have to be a chore or a bore. Find ways to make studying engaging.
Turn your studying into a game using puzzles, quizzes or flashcards. Enlist a classmate to quiz each other or invent a game to remember the more difficult material. Find related videos online to create more visuals for yourself.
It can also be helpful to create fun songs or acronyms to remember different concepts, steps or terms. Lastly, don't forget to get creative with colors. It can be helpful to make charts, use sticky notes or drawings.
Remember that grades and scores do not define who you are. While they are important, they do not determine your self-worth.
If something goes wrong, there is a lesson to be learned and an opportunity to try again. Be kind to yourself, and don't beat yourself up.
If you find it difficult to give kind words to yourself, think about what you would tell a close friend during a similar moment. Give yourself a big hug, and repeat those same words to yourself.
Don't forget friends, family, staff and instructors are here for you! Take a break and chat with a family member or friend. Connect with peers and develop a study group for your course.
If you’re running into challenges, reach out to support on campus. This might include connecting with your professors with questions or concerns, using the Tutoring & Learning Center (TLC) for academic support or reaching out to a staff member on campus you trust to explore other resources. As a reminder, the Student Mental Health & Wellness Program is always here to listen!
5 Ways to Care for Your Emotional Wellness