Opinion | The best study method is self-care

Taking personal time may increase productivity while decreasing the amount of time needed to complete tasks.

Yasmina Sahir, Opinions Columnist

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

Believe it or not, the fall semester is beginning to wind down. 

As week 11 rolls along, staff and students are tiredly rushing for the upcoming finish line in December. 

As group presentations, long papers, and work obligations fill your academic schedule, don’t forget a priority that we all often let fall to the side: self-care. 

On Tuesday, Fox News “Outnumbered” Host, Emily Compagno, said college students need a “slap in the face” in response to a Medical News Today study that found highly emotional people may respond well to petting cats.

Self-care is an essential part of journeys at all stages of life. As a child, the term “self-care” may not have been the language used for soothing activities that promote positive mental and physical health.

Many of us have found ways throughout childhood that allow us to find a moment of peace in the hecticness of college life. The idea of taking time for one’s basic needs: rest, proper food intake, exercise, and time to prioritize to do lists. 

But it seems to fall to the wayside as Americans enter adulthood. It doesn’t have to be this way. 

College students are prone to academic and social burnout from the constant stream of campus and off-campus activities offered during undergraduate years. While these can be a positive part of campus life, too much of a good thing can quickly become overwhelming.

Depending on your personality, self-care takes different forms. Introverts may need to set and rewind through rest, yoga, meditation, alone time, and quiet. Those of a more extroverted nature may view a social gathering, grabbing lunch with a friend, or attending an on-campus organizational meeting as their personal time for the day. 

Other forms of self-care can include: going to the nail or hair salon, taking a hike or walk around town, treating yourself to a healthy snack, or staying in for the weekend instead of attending a party. 

There is no right or wrong way to care for yourself, unless you’re routinely skipping this daily form of “me time”. 

As with anything in life, moderation is key even in self-care. Just like positive thinking, self-care can be taken too far. In the process of finding a routine that works for you and your schedule, consideration of others, and the ability to still get things done during slotted productive hours of the day is also part of a good work-life balance. 

Most recent federal guidelines on daily activity for adults, approximately 300 minutes per week of movement are recommended for anyone over age 18.

At first, taking 300 minutes away per week from other responsibilities may seem daunting. By taking these 60 minutes per day for you, your productivity and efficiency may benefit from these daily breaks as well. 

In a situation set up to be a win-win-win for yourself, your friends and peers, and your employer, there seems to be only one logical answer to the question of self-care: do it. 

Who knows. Your final grades might just thank you later.