As another semester draws to an end, I ensure to implement my self-care routine regularly to decrease stress. Today I share ideas that I implement to avoid burnout while preparing for end-of-term evaluations, exams, and my upcoming Christmas shopping!
Listen to yourself and your body/mind
If you want to take care of yourself during this time, it is essential to listen to what your body and mind are trying to tell you. Take a few minutes out of your day to understand what is going on with you. Are you tired? Are you stressed out? Are you eating regularly? To maintain your health and wellbeing at the end of term, cue into the signals your body sends you.
Create a visual calendar
When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I like to create a mini, visual calendar of tasks to accomplish during the week. This enables me to visualize what is left to finish and I can divide my To-Do list into smaller tasks.
Try new exercise
I recently implemented mindfulness and deep-breathing exercises into my daily routine. Exercise helps me to de-stress and relax any racing thoughts. The newest routine I’ve implemented is deep-breathing and guided meditation through an app called Calm. This app features meditation exercises, deep breathing, and ‘Bedtime Stories’ to help you relax at night.
What methods do you use to decrease end-of-semester stress?
I love to plan. I usually buy a new planner every January, but this year I decided to buy a new one in November. The planner I previously owned did not have adequate space for my daily scheduling and I know I’ll need more writing space once I head into a new internship in January.
What planner did I buy?
I bought a large, spacious planner from my local bookstore. This one originates from a brand called ban.do. It features a 17-month spread (August 2017-December 2018), color-coded tabs and yearly/monthly/weekly calendar pageviews. To satisfy my inner organized nerd, it even contains a coil-bound closure and internal pockets.
So, why did I buy a new one before the year ended?
This new planner serves two purposes:
- It tracks all my reminders – Important dates, reminders, and schedules popped up throughout this semester. I already used up a lot of space in my previous planner, and required more writing space to track everything. (Grad photos, party reminders, group work, etc.)
- I can schedule activities in advance – I already have a few important dates scheduled for 2018. This new planner allows me to write those dates and times without waiting until January.
Tips to set up a new planner
Setting up a new planner doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Here are three tips I use whenever I buy a new one:
- Transfer all important dates into your new planner before throwing the old one away
- Determine how you will colour-code your planner to organize it
How do you organize a new planner?
There’s no single way to blog, but there are common mistakes that new bloggers can make. I started my blog over a year ago and learned a lot of these mistakes myself. With a few tweaks and tips, I overcame these mistakes to improve my blogging. These are 3 common mistakes:
Publishing a new blog post on your personal Facebook page is one way to increase page views, but your content is likely to only be seen by your Facebook friends list. Posting to Facebook is not enough. Share your content on other social media websites, or groups dedicated to blog promotion to increase your reach and page views. A helpful hint is to tell your audience about the blog post, instead of simply leaving the link on the page.
NO OR LOW QUALITY PHOTOS
Blogs are largely about visuals. I like to include one main photo that captures the essence of my blog post. If I am writing a product review, I will often also include swatches of the product to demonstrate the colour/texture. Multiple editing tools exist to enhance and refine your photos to make them more appealing. Practice makes perfect, and keep practicing your photography until you’re happy.
I publish new blog posts 3 times a week. I publish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while devoting each day to a specific topic. I plan my posts extensively before I begin to write them, and this actually speeds up the writing process. Consistency is key to maintain an active following. Try using a calendar to schedule content and keep your blogging on track.
What are common mistakes you made as a new blogger? Do you have any tips to share to avoid common mistakes?
Finding the right planner for you can take time. Picture this: After finding the perfect planner at your local stationary store, you stare at the blank pages, unsure of exactly where to start. Today I’ll share tips to help you use those pages!
1) Use a single planner, if possible
It can be cumbersome to manage both a personal and work planner. Find a planner you can use to record business and personal tasks. This will streamline your tasks, due dates, and appointments. A bonus tip: It is a good idea to consistently check your planner to review the day ahead.
2) Create a list within your planner
I make lists often. I list each task to be accomplished by the end of the day, and check them off as I complete them. I enjoy the motion of marking a check-mark next to my list during the day. It provides both a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
3) Slow down in order to speed up
Set aside time each week to plan ahead. Inputing tasks and reminders for the week ahead offers you time to organize thoughts, de-stress, and provides a clear view of what you plan to accomplish. The act of physically writing out your to-dos is an effective tool for cognitive recognition.
4) Use a color-coding system
My favourite method of colour-coding is using different pens or post-it notes. Use a different colour for each specific task you need to remember. For example, reserve a pink pen for exam dates, a blue pen for reminders, a red pen for appointments, etc.
Do you use a planner? If you do, is it an effective tool to keep you organized?
My desktop is not always the most organized. During the semester it is piled with textbooks, notes, and reminder Post-Its. There are specific items I use throughout the year – my desk essentials.
My laptop is a staple object on my desk. I use it throughout the day to edit posts, respond to e-mails and complete research for new posts. My laptop usage increases when a semester is in session. I bought my MacBook Air when I began university.
CALENDAR + PLANNER
I keep both a calendar pad and planner on my desktop. Both pieces of stationary track important dates, assignment deadlines and reminders. As my planner is portable, I take it with me when out of the house.
A teal blue clasped notebook holds all my blog post ideas. I track each date and post topic. I found this notebook at my local Chapters-Indigo. While this notebook sits next to my laptop most of the time, it is small and portable for travelling.
Keurig pods for a quick caffeine boost.
I stay hydrated with a combination of coffee and water. Both a water bottle and coffee cup remain on my desk while I work. I drink
Cleaning out your closet can be difficult. I cleaned out mine last week, and I’ll admit, it’s difficult to let go of that sparkly seath dress you wore once but hang onto just in case. Every few months, it’s a good idea to assess the items in your closet. As you scrutinize each item, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I wear this again?
- Is it still in style?
- Does it fit?
- Have I worn it in the last 6-12 months?
- How do I feel when I wear this?
- Would I buy this is I were shopping right now?
If the anwser to any of these questions is no, then its time to say goodbye to those items.
Are you unsure of how to let go of these items? You have a few options.
Option #1 – Donate
Most cities have specific organizations that accept gently used clothes. Within Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association offers dropbox locations to leave clothing you wish to donate.
Option #2 – Sell
Apps and websites make it easier than ever to sell clothes you no longer wear. Websites such as Tradsey let you sell clothing by uploading a photo and information about the item. Tradsey then computes the price the item will sell for on the website.
Option #3 – Swap
Host a clothing swap with friends and family. This is a fun way of finding new items and saying goodbye to old ones.
Use a single calendar. Colour-coding a single calendar with due dates, extra-cirricular activities and personal dates (i.e. birthdays, social events) ensures all important dates are visible. Writing all due dates for the semester on the first day of lectures is a trick I use to sketch out the semester for myself.
Separate and organize course materials. Whether you track your course work electronically or on paper, keeping related materials together keep them organized.
Get a planner. Planners offer monthly, weekly and/or daily views. Write out important due dates and reminders to keep yourself on-track with the semester.
Label all sets of notes. When the time comes to study for an exam, having notes labelled and dated allows you to locate specific topics.
Tidy up your study space. Place your calendar in clear view to reference due dates for the month. Dedicating specific areas of your desk for study materials allows for access when needed.
Time management is key. This is important whether you take courses online or on campus. Set aside a specific time of day to review daily lecture notes and to plan ahead for the upcoming week. Managing your time allows you to divide your tasks into sections.
Colour code your courses. Using a separate colour scheme for each course keeps material organized and visible.
Maintain self-care. Staying organized is not simple if you are mentally drained. Take time to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. Motivating yourself to stay organized is easier if you have high energy levels.
Start early. Many of us procrastinate. Better work quality results if you begin readings and assignments early. Separating work into manageable chunks may decrease stress levels, especially as due dates approach.
Create a filing system. If you are taking courses with many readings, having file folders for all relevant course readings is helpful when the time comes to study for an exam or write a paper.