It’s officially the middle of the strangest semester and we all deserve a pat on the back. Through the never-ending mask mandate, online classes and lack of social events, some might find this to be the most difficult semester of their college career.

Whether you’re a senior missing out on your final football games or a freshman awaiting a true college experience, it’s time for a mental check-in. With a lack of breaks from school, I think we’re all in need of some self-alignment. Here are five tips you might want to consider for a strong end to the semester.

1. Schedule your “me” time

I think one of the most important things for our mental health is to find time to be a little selfish. If you find yourself struggling to study or feeling overwhelmed, take an hour or so each week to be a little selfish. This could be watching a favorite show or movie while eating your favorite food. Perhaps you want to do a facemask once a week while listening to the sounds of the ocean. Whatever it is, make sure that you are taking time for yourself in the middle of all this chaos.

2. Check in with your body

You know yourself better than anyone else. Ask yourself, have you really been taking care of yourself the past few months? Spending most of my time inside a dorm room, I know how easy it is to reach over for a snack every hour. What does your sleep schedule look like? Have you been getting more than a few winks of sleep each night?

If you’re like me, you’re struggling to remind yourself to take care of yourself. The way you eat, sleep and think are very important to your body and they affect you each day. If you have the option to leave campus or go to the C-stores, pick up some healthy food. It doesn’t have to be a bunch of vegetables, but I always take fresh fruit over a candy bar. Lock down your sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning. It will do your body wonders. 

3. Connect with the world around you

Just because we are still in a pandemic and have to social distance, that doesn’t mean you have to close yourself out from the world. Recently I met up with some friends for the first time in over seven months. We grabbed some coffee from Starbucks and distanced ourselves outside of the Nebraska Union. I had no idea how badly I needed a couple of hours to just talk with some of my girlfriends. Prior to this gathering, I felt alone and as if I was facing all of these hardships by myself. Now, we’ve agreed to get together once a week to check in with one another and make sure we are doing alright.

4. Get up and get moving

Like many students, the majority of my classes have moved online since the beginning of the semester. Most days, I sit at the same desk for hours without moving unless I’m reaching for a snack. Try to get yourself up each day and move around. Go for a walk outside or do some stretching next to your desk. Not only do you need to give your eyes and brain a break, but your body needs the opportunity to move.

5. Reach out for help

Finally, the most important thing to remember this semester is that you are not alone. We are all facing the backlash of this pandemic and trying to find our new groove. The university has a large variety of resources available for those who need them. Utilize your free counseling sessions at Counseling and Psychological Services. I have found most of my professors are very helpful and understanding as well. They know this isn’t the semester we expected, and they don’t want you to fail. Having clear communication and forming a relationship with each of your professors might be one of the best decisions you can make this semester.