By Sierra Aceto

This is Do You Mind?, a series where I ponder and reflect over many mindfulness practices, what they mean and how to apply them. As the self-care and self-love revolution is on the rise, I hope to make you wonder, do you mind?

The last day of classes — May 2 — and finals period — May 6 through May 11 — are inching closer and closer as the semester is coming to an end. Stress levels are heightened and the panic of finishing those last minute term papers and studying for exams is rising.

Increased stress levels often result in less self-care time — hence the extra unchecked stress. Here are some tips to help you coast through finals and keep up your self-care game.

Midnight snacks don’t hurt, they help

Everyone can relate to the plethora of unhealthy snacks you consume during overnight study sessions when you go without a meal during finals season. As your workload gets larger and seems more unmanageable, it becomes crucial to fuel your body regularly and with nutritious foods.

Eating a snack — or even a whole meal — at 1 a.m. should not incite any late-night food guilt, but it especially shouldn’t do so during finals season. When your body is working overtime, you will be grateful for the extra energy to help you push through.

When you’re inevitably getting less sleep and eating more irregularly, giving your body the fuel it needs is just a small way to counteract the tension your mind and body are under. Here’s a list of yummy snacks you can keep in your dorm for all your snacking needs.

Don’t ditch those Zzzs

Although it will be tempting to pull all-nighters for an entire week, your brain function significantly decreases when you don’t get all the sleep you need.

In order to perform your best on exams, sleep is your best friend — so don’t ignore her. Let’s be honest, those extra couple of hours of flipping through a stack of notecards is really just mindless card flipping. If they were baseball trading cards, you’d hardly notice the difference.

You’re a person with needs, man

Don’t forget that outside of work, school and finals, you’re a human being. You have valid emotions that deserve just as much, if not more, attention than any exam or final grade.

I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating — you are not your grades. You are not your grades. You are not your grades!

You are not defined by that letter or number that shows up on the student link page after the semester ends. What defines you is how you treat your friends, your family and yourself. Often, we treat the former two groups better than we ever think of treating ourselves.

This finals season — and every season, honestly — intentionally make time for yourself.  Decompress, laugh, treat yourself. Stop studying until 5 a.m. — or, hell, stop at 5 p.m. Ask a friend to see a movie or just sit around and vent about that professor that pushed your final paper to be due earlier than it was scheduled, because that just sucks.

I hope we’ll all get through this finals season paying a little more attention to our bodies and our mental well-being and a little — or a lot — less attention to those arbitrary grades. None of them will really matter in five years anyway, and they’re not worth sacrificing your health and happiness for.

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