By: Janis Mallon, Training Director and Senior Psychologist

The end of semester can be a chaotic and stressful time. Between studying for finals, managing
plans for break and working that part-time (or full-time) job we sometimes find ourselves
overwhelmed with an increasing sense of stress. What can often seem like very manageable
tasks during any other time of the year can seem much more daunting when we are faced with
end of the semester deadlines.

Luckily there is a simple and effective strategy to keep yourself organized and ultimately de-
stressed. Start keeping a “to do” list! I know, you’ve heard it before, but now is the perfect time
to whip out that occasionally underutilized daily planner, pad of paper or even the back of an
old homework assignment and get to writing! The purpose of writing down the list is to make
the process of looking at what we really need “to do” more accessible. When we create a
concrete manifestation of all of those daily tasks, appointments and assignments that would
otherwise swirl around, untethered in our heads (usually when we are trying to sleep) we are
able to demystify the process. When you write down your tasks and can actually see what you
need to accomplish you are allowing the intangible (thoughts) to become the tangible (to-do
list). This simple activity can often help in reducing feelings of chaos and stress. Oh, and don’t
forget to check off tasks once they have been completed! The satisfaction of drawing a line
through each completed item will likely feel very rewarding.

It is also important to include some self-care into your daily schedule. Make sure to allow some
time between studying and work for doing something that you enjoy, something that feels
fulfilling and positive that has nothing to do with work or school. It’s important to remember
that without daily implemented self-care, our stress can become overwhelming and in some
cases, immobilizing. Always remember to pencil in a time to get a cup of coffee, read a book,
take a walk or just breathe! Be good to yourself, you’ve earned it!!

For additional resources please visit: http://usm.maine.edu/uhcs and


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