This time of year can be a difficult time for students to manage everything that is going on. It is possible, with some work on your part and some creative use of available resources, to manage in a healthy way. For students, and those of who work to support students, below are some themes, with resources, to help.
• Stay in balance and keep perspective -- it's possible to do well academically and have a sense of emotional wellness even in this very busy time. Take breaks – even though it may feel like you are ‘wasting time’ -- research shows it actually improves your studying and effectiveness. Have some fun along the way. By achieving balance and perspective, you will feel more confident and ‘put together’ which, in turn, will improve your performance. (See: http://dosomething.dsa.umich.edu/dropIntoBeing.php)
• Manage Your Mind – it’s possible to have your mind work for you instead of against you. When we get stressed and anxious, our thoughts tend to work against us. So, do a mental health “check in”. Keep realistic expectations and pay attention to your negative self-talk. Being aware of this is the first step to changing it.(See: http://mitalk.umich.edu/article/77)
• Manage Your Stress – it’s possible yet the trick is to find a plan that works for you. This takes a little experimenting and exploration. Check out the various things that work for people, and you’ll know pretty quickly what works for you. (See: http://mitalk.umich.edu/lifeskills)
• Manage Your Time – it’s possible to “have time” even when it feels like there isn’t enough time. The key is to prioritize tasks by starting with the most important while using stress management and mind management, and things will then start to ‘fall in place’. You probably won’t have enough time to do everything you want to, so accepting that is a first step that ironically frees up some time. This is an important life skill so have fun learning how to do it! (See: http://mitalk.umich.edu/article/84)
• Prepare for the summer – breaks are important in our lives – little breaks (if you'll be here for Spring/Summer) and big ones (if you'll be going home all summer). The overall goal for a break from a mental health perspective is to use the time to re-charge and to re-connect with family or friends in a way that is helpful for you. For some students, going home can be “de-centering” in that a lot of change happens while at UM and sometimes it takes families time to catch up to those changes. Plan ahead, and think about ways to manage this, or take breaks while at home. Some students stay in Ann Arbor – either because it’s not possible to travel, or due to family issues, or due to other reasons. If you do stay in Ann Arbor, it can be a nice time to take advantage of doing “Ann Arbor things” that you don’t have time for during the semester.
See also: http://www.umich.edu/~caps/wellness.html