Do you remember what April used to mean to you before entering the doom of college? The month carried so many positive and beautiful connotations. Being in April meant warmth and comfort. It meant taking a bike ride with your friends to your local ice cream shop for a chocolate cone. It meant snuggling up on the couch with a good book while a soft thunderstorm rolled through town. April was pure bliss, and you thought nobody could take it away from you.
You were so wrong. As you sit here in April, in your dorm or apartment, looking over your assignment schedule for the next couple of weeks, you can’t help but to yell a couple explicit words loud enough for your neighbors to hear. You have three tests this week, two tests and a paper the next and three projects due the week after that. It feels as if every Colorado State professor banded together and made a pact to force as many tests, paper and projects as possible into these four weeks. After all, it makes perfect sense to burn students out before finals, right?
However, a trend emerges amongst students during this troubling time. They start to put their own needs on the back burner. They forget to take care of themselves and listen to their bodies. In the moment, it may seem as though the only way to make it through the difficult time of April is to lock oneself in a private study room at the library and not re-emerge until May 1, looking and smelling similar to a zombie from “The Walking Dead.” This method is not the direction anyone should take, however, and it’s time to stop the madness now.
The first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem and recognizing what that problem is. A major issue that many students face in April is sleep deprivation. Although you may think one or two all-nighters a week is perfectly normal, perhaps even expected during this time, it is not. A study from Stanford University says a college student needs nearly eight hours of sleep daily, and if this requirement isn’t met, a sleep debt is created. This can lead to complete body exhaustion. Don’t let this happen to you. If you can’t acquire all eight hours of sleep during the night, then try lying down for 45 minute naps here and there for a reboot in energy levels.
Another activity that can give you an energy boost is exercising. This thought may sound obvious, but most people can think of times when they’ve replaced exercising for energy with sugary energy drinks. However, the only help energy drinks are giving you is helping you reach over two times your body’s daily sugar allotment. Skip the sugar and get your body moving. It doesn’t have to be an intense two-hour workout at the gym. Taking a couple laps around the library or doing some yoga next to your desk will help get your blood flowing again.
Taking care of yourself during the rough month of April doesn’t have to be strictly physical. Remembering your mental health is vital to your survival through the month, too. A study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 30 percent of college students have issues with schoolwork due to mental illnesses. Even if you are only feeling stressed this month, be sure to take the time to alleviate it. Take some time out of your week to watch your favorite movie, eat lunch at the best restaurant or even go out with friends for a night. Doing activities that make you happy can help you prevent future a mental breakdown.
Getting through April seems like a daunting task. You may think that there is no way you can make it through this month and finals soon after, but you can’t give up now because the finish line is right around the corner. Remember it’s just as important to take care of yourself and listen to your body as it is to ace your tests and papers. Go out into the world, take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the beautiful first full month of spring.