“Aaaaa! I’m super stressed out!”
“I’m really sleepy and can’t focus.”
“Argh! When are exams and assignments going to be over?”
“I can’t take this anymore! I want to drop out!”
Have you been experiencing some of these thoughts? Well, congratulations! You’ve successfully made it all the way to the infamous hectic week in a student’s life.
Generally, people perceive a hectic week as a period packed with heavy workloads. From a student's perspective, it’s the most critical period where you’ll be loaded with never-ending assignments and exams, leaving you feeling mentally exhausted.
Personally, I perceive that these thoughts should be fully avoided as it can jeopardise your physical and mental state day-by-day. Practising self-care is one of the ways that keeps me energised as well as mentally and physically prepared throughout my journey as a full-time degree student. While each student may experience hectic weeks differently, it typically consists of never-ending assignments, exams, and schedules packed with club activities.
Here’s what I do to survive physically and mentally as a university student before, during, and after a hectic week.
1. Analyse your current state
Remember to prioritise your physical, emotional, and mental state as it’s crucial when preparing for a hectic week ahead. This process doesn’t need a lot of research but does involve a pulse check.
What’s a pulse check? A pulse check is done by answering some simple questions to identify how you are doing currently. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
Do you constantly sleep late at night (midnight to early mornings) even if you have nothing to do or have trouble sleeping?
How often do you feel fidgety or unable to sit peacefully?
How do you feel most of the time? Happy? Anxious? Sad?
Those questions may look simple but they serve as a lifesaver assisting you to know your current condition better. Sometimes you tend to forget your current feelings or emotions when rushing to complete tasks. Once you know what stage you’re in, execute the appropriate action plan to ensure you are constantly in a good state. The pulse check will keep you in-line in taking good care of yourself.
2. Have enough sleep
Having enough sleep helps you recharge your body and energy for the next day. Usually, the first two weeks of the semester aren’t hectic with assignments and exams, so lock in as much rest while you can! While you may be losing some sleep during hectic weeks, at least you can reminisce about the good ol’ days when you were able to rest.
3. Try out relaxing activities
Any activities that will help you feel less stress, like reading books, watching movies, and exercising are highly recommended as they can relax your mind. Personally, I listen to lo-fi music or any instrumental music to refresh my mind, delete negative thoughts, as well as absorb any positive aura.
1. Constantly analyse your current state
Do this daily! It’s important to ensure your emotional and mental health are in a good state. They should be taken care of as they’re easily affected during these hectic weeks. Otherwise, you’ll be mentally exhausted which could lead to a mental breakdown. One way to keep track and monitor your emotions is by forming healthy habits like bullet journaling.
2. Spend some time with your loved ones
Spare around 10 to 15 minutes per day contacting your parents or siblings, if you’re not staying with them, or hang out with your friends (virtually or physically). Calling and speaking to them can release some negative aura and I assure you that you’d feel better after.
Before you pour out your heart and soul to your confidant, remember to ask if they’re in the right state of mind to listen to you.
Pretty sure that when you see the word ‘meditation’, yoga would pop in your mind. Studies have shown that meditation can help to reduce one’s stress level and contribute to effective and efficient work, leading to a good performance. Start with some simple meditation involving no cost!
Dedicate 5-10 minutes of your hectic day and do a simple deep breathing exercise. Focus on your breathing, and after a while, you’ll start feeling light, steady, and calm. If you’re starting to become distracted, simply return your mind to the breathing pattern. This will help you to be mindful of what’s happening around you.
4. Spare some time doing fun activities
Take a break from the hustle by watching movies, playing sports, or any activities that seem comfortable to you. However, remember that you must know your limits and avoid procrastination! Being disciplined is of utmost importance when setting your limit as it helps you to keep track of your schedule even with several breaks.
You could set a time limit of not more than 2 hours and give yourself a break. For example, if you’re planning to watch movies or YouTube videos during break time, time yourself for an hour. Be disciplined and get back to your task once your alarm goes off.
Moderation is key. Whatever tasks you do, do it in moderation. Never overdo your break but don’t overdo studying as well. Manage your time wisely to balance out your studying and fun time.
5. Avoid overworking yourself
The most important thing is to never let yourself work above your limit. Everyone has their own limit per day. Even though you’re swamped with a ton of assignments, you must remember to let your body and mind rest to ensure you’ve sufficient energy to continue the next day. Avoid sleeping late (e.g. past midnight) or you'll risk not being able to function effectively the next day. Take moderation into account with whatever task you’re doing — regardless of fun stuff or serious stuff.
1. Appreciate yourself
Appreciation — something people hardly do as they’re too keen to quickly proceed with their next task! Remember, you’re dealing with emotions, it’s vital to give yourself recognition and appreciation. Appreciate yourself by telling yourself, “Congratulations! You did it. You deserve a break!” Sometimes, you need to stop, appreciate, and smell the roses once in a while.
2. Vacation time!
Book yourself a ticket for a vacation or a staycation! Reward yourself after you’ve gone through all of the hustle. Relax your mind, reformat, and instil carefree and positive thoughts.
3. Pamper yourself
Pampering is a must for every woman and man. Book yourself an appointment at a spa, massage, or facial. Some people may think it’s expensive and not worth it. Personally, I think it's helpful to release your negative aura and tension. You don’t have to spend extravagantly on your pampering sessions. Bring out your creative juices and get thrifty! Buy facial masks at any personal care stores or aromatherapy oil to diffuse in your room.
Self-care is worth the investment. It’s crucial for your emotional intelligence in developing self-awareness and empathy which will give you a better understanding of your feelings and emotions.
I really hope that these tips that have kept me afloat during my hectic weeks will help you sail through yours. Most importantly, have fun and create great memories during your university life!
Nur Sorfina is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business (Honours) Banking & Finance at Taylor’s University. She is also the Board of Director and Talent Engagement Department Lead of Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship Club as well as a Pals Leader for Introduction to Finance.
Is adapting to university life causing you stress and anxiety? Taylorian, Winny Huang, shares the 5 areas to keep in check so you can avoid drowning in stress.READ MORE
Are you mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted? Caution! It may be a burnout! Our Taylorian, Puteri Nelissa shares how to recognise and overcome it.READ MORE