Written by Hunter Esquivel
Week 10, appropriately nicknamed “Dead Week”, is all-too-familiar to us: The workload is overwhelming, our stress is at a level 10, and our remaining motivation is barely hanging by a thread.
As the end of the quarter approaches, so do more obstacles. We are all encountering a variety of challenges in every aspect of our lives right now; it can feel impossible to juggle everything that life throws at us.
I have compiled a list of the resources that I've found to be the most helpful into a Week 10 Survival Guide! Many of these are resources that we have shared throughout the Resilience Series, courtesy of our amazing facilitator and UCSC Lecturer, Silvia. I hope that these resources can offer some support during this already difficult time.
When life feels out of control, it helps to re-center yourself. Here are a few different methods to help yourself feel more grounded!
5-Minute Guided Meditation
This is a quick, 5-minute guided meditation by Goodful! Meditation can help you start off your day in a positive way or be used as a tool for relaxation during moments of stress or panic.
Tap Into Your Inner Resources During Moments of Stress
Resilience Expert Linda Graham offers three methods for connecting with your body’s wisdom during times of stress. These practices help focus our attention on our bodies and return us to a state of calm. This is a short summary of the suggested practices, but please visit the article for detailed descriptions!
3 Breathing Practices
Breath naturally for 5-10 breaths
The Box Breath practice: Inhale on a count of four, hold it in for a four-count, exhale at the same pace, and hold out the breath for a count of four.
An audible sigh: Take a deep breath and exhale fully!
Place a hand on your heart and take deep breaths
Give yourself a hug (it’s comforting!)
Grip and release your fists to release tension
Smile or frown: It could cause a shift in your emotions!
Headspace is a meditation app that offers hundreds of guided meditations focusing on a variety of topics such as stress, productivity, self-esteem, and relationships. They also offer short “SOS” meditations that help in moments of immediate stress, panic, and overwhelm. Students are able to sign up for one year of Headspace for $9.99 with the student plan! There is also a Headspace blog that features helpful tips for meditation and wellbeing.
(Note: This is in no way sponsored by Headspace, I just really appreciate the resources that they share!)
Motivation and Productivity
It’s really difficult to remain motivated as the quarter comes to a close. You’ve worked hard all quarter and the feeling of burnout can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips on how to finish the quarter strong!
Remember Your Past Accomplishments
This is my number one method for staying motivated. Whenever an assignment feels impossible to complete, I think back to similar assignments or tasks that I have completed in the past. Try to remember what strategies or methods you used. If you have done it before, you can do it again!
Consider Your Goals
Take a moment to reflect on your goals. What would you like to do with your degree? What are your hopes and aspirations? It might help to write these down and place them near your workstation so that you can keep them in mind!
This quadrant is a great tool to help prioritize your tasks! It focuses on two central questions: Is it important and is it urgent.
This is a studying technique that I have recently started using and it really works for me! The Pomodoro technique helps you stay focused and resist distractions by giving you breaks throughout your study session. There are multiple approaches to this method, but the most common ones are:
Studying for 25-minute intervals with 5-minute breaks in between
Studying for 50-minute intervals with 10-minute breaks in between
There are many Pomodoro technique videos on youtube that I recommend checking out! This video is one of my favorites- it plays lo-fi music for 25-minute intervals with 5-minute breaks throughout.
It is all too easy to put self-care on the backburner when we get caught up in other responsibilities. These are the times when self-care is the most important! When we remember to take care of ourselves and our well-being, it is easier to handle everyday stressors and tasks.
"The Unspoken Complexity of 'Self-Care'" by Deanna Zandt
I want to uplift this amazing self-care comic by Deanna Zandt. The following images highlight activities for self-care, but visit the full comic to learn more about how these forms of care also connect to community and structural care!
Prioritize Self-Care in Your Schedule
Setting aside 10-15 minutes every day to practice self-care can make a huge difference to both your mental and physical wellbeing. Even if it is just going for a walk or making your favorite tea, it is worth making an effort to do it. Try adding self-care to your agenda or planner!
I hope that this toolkit is able to provide you with some support as this quarter comes to end. You’ve got this, Slugs!