Self-care tips and university programming in Final Exams season

With final exams around the corner, Mental Health and Wellness Educator Malorie McGee and Mental Health Peer Educator Alexa Harris ’24 shared self-care tips, as well as university programming and resources that will be available for students.

“We feel that people are overwhelmed. Especially this semester, everyone’s very stressed, which is to be expected. But that doesn’t mean that it makes it any easier on the students, ”Harris said.

McGee added that times of higher stress tend to be around the mid-term and final exams, but throughout this academic year, there has been a consistent need for counseling services.

Self-care tips

Harris said that although focusing on academics is important, students should make sure they are still having fun, seeing their friends, and not putting everything into schoolwork. They also need to manage their time and take it slow.

“Just doing small things at first, maybe starting a page of an essay right now. And then by the end of the finals week, if you do one page at a time, very slowly, you might have the essay and you won’t be as stressed, ”Harris added.

She also emphasized the importance of making time for oneself, like getting a coffee, eating a snack, or chilling for just a minute. Harris recommended taking breaks while studying – for example, using 30 minutes to study and 30 minutes to relax instead of working a full hour.

“Just being cautious of what you’re doing… like eating, that’s very big. I think a lot of students forget to eat. So make sure you’re, if it really helps, setting a timer to make sure you eat, ”she added.

McGee said that while mental health is important, students should take care of their whole self since mental health is affected by physical health. For example, they should aim for six to eight hours of sleep every night.

“A lot of students will laugh when I say that, and I know that because there never seems to be enough time, right? But start simple, ”McGee said. She recommended trying to wind down and waking up at the same time every day for the body to form healthy habits.

McGee also recommended drinking enough water, eating healthy food, exercising, and taking little breaks.

“We have this mentality and society tells us we have to push through and we have to do these things or we will get behind. But long term, if you’re not well or not taking care of your mental and physical health, you’re not at the capacity where you can do your best, ”she said.

McGee added that while there is still a stigma of getting counseling services in many cultures, seeking help does not necessarily point to mental illnesses. Counseling can also be a way to take care of one’s mental health in general. McGee is a dance movement therapist, and other counselors are trained in yoga, mindfulness, and grounding techniques.

“It’s not just so much the cliche, sitting on a chair and talking about your problems… our staff is equipped to also offer a variety of different ways to help them cope or manage stress or, you know, just being a student from day to day day, ”she said.

University programming

Students can reach out to the Counseling Services team by calling 765-658-4268 or contacting counselingservices@depauw.edu. The Counseling Services office is located in room 2033, Buehler Health and Wellness Suites, Lilly Center. According to Harris and McGee, services and programming that will be available for students include:

  1. Individual therapy: Students who use this service for the first time will do an initial consultation to determine what resources would be suitable for them.
  2. Emergency hours from 11 am – 12 pm and 3 pm – 4 pm, Monday to Friday: Any student experiencing an emergency or crisis related to mental health can walk into the counseling office.
  3. Access to mental health support over the phone starting from 5 pm on weekdays and during the weekend.
  4. Mental health tabling for graduating seniors during Senior Day tabling with the Hubbard Center, 11 am – 2 pm on Friday 5/13: Seniors will be advised on how to access counseling services after they leave DePauw.
  5. Intuitive Eating consultations from 5/9 – 5/15: Students can email clinical counselor Becky Roberts to set up an appointment.

Counseling Services will also communicate with faculty and staff about ways to support students.

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