Take Time for Self-Care as You End the Semester

Sleeping student

Women’s Center Assistant Director Bri Elum (she/her) provides the following self-care guide for students as they close out the semester.

The end of the semester can be an overwhelming time, whether you’re studying for finals or preparing for graduation. Self-care is essential during these times. Self-care may be defined by the term itself — caring for yourself — and includes anything you do to keep yourself healthy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

As students prepare for final exams, you should take time to think about what your mind, body and spirit need to thrive. To figure out what you need, honor yourself by listening to the signals your body is giving you. Take the time to pay attention to when you feel invigorated and when you feel drained. Look for patterns. What makes you feel good? What makes you feel overwhelmed and anxious? Now begin creating your understanding of what self-care looks like based on your responses to these questions. Listed below are a few ways to take care of yourself based on the five senses. Being mindful of our senses can help us engage in self-care activities.

Self-Care by the Senses


  • Take a 20-minute break to step away from your computer and textbooks.
  • Take 15 minutes to go on a scenic walk.
  • Close your eyes and take 5 minutes to engage in mindfulness and mediation.
  • Schedule an appointment to meet with Counseling Center if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.


  • Listen to an inspirational podcast or something that makes you feel happy.
  • Listen to audiobooks by some of your favorite authors.
  • Use mindful meditations to relax, relate and release.
  • Create different playlists of your favorite music (calming, inspirational or upbeat). Music therapy can be a powerful influence to help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and more.
  • Listen to a soundtrack of rain or your favorite nature sounds.
  • Set clear boundaries with people in your life. Say yes to those things you can and want to do and say no to those things that will drain you. It is okay to say no.


  • Nourish your body with a variety of foods from all the food groups.
  • Pack a variety of different snacks for late-night study sessions in the library.
  • Mindfully eat something sweet, sour or savory.
  • Cook your favorite meal.
  • Enjoy some Howling Cow ice cream.
  • Try to avoid having caffeinated/energy drinks.
  • Eat breakfast to jumpstart your day.


  • Use aromatherapy or fragrant oils such as lavender to relax and soothe your mind.
  • Go outside and smell the crisp outside air.
  • Add some favorite holiday scents to your home or room.


  • Put on a pair of fuzzy socks or slippers.
  • Spend time petting a cat or dog.
  • Wrap up in a warm weighted blanket.


Self-care looks different for everyone. Start your journey by incorporating this countdown into your daily self-care routine:

  • 9 thousand steps
  • 8 hours of sleep
  • 7 glasses of water
  • 6 minutes of prayer or meditation
  • 5 minutes of deep breathing exercises
  • 4 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 3 meals
  • 2 hours of no phone
  • 1 hour of exercise

Now get out there and crush those finals!