The most dreaded time of the semester has finally come: finals. It is a time when students from all over campus stock up on caffeinated beverages to stay up until the early morning cramming just one more study session for an exam they feel they are destined to fail anyway.

We convince ourselves there’s no time for anything but studying and projects, so we start skipping meals, skipping nights of sleep, skipping deep breaths and, overall, skipping happiness.

During this semester’s finals, we need to stop skipping things that are crucial in our everyday lives and start making them just as much of a priority as our school assignments. Self-care is important too.

There are five things we need to remember to do this week to make our finals a ton easier. We need to remember to breathe. We need to take time for ourselves. We need to take time to eat. We need to remember to get at least seven hours of sleep. Lastly, we need to remember to smile while we go.

1. Remember to breathe.

As college students, we sometimes forget to do the small things to take care of ourselves, like taking some time to breathe.

I struggle with this one a lot because my life is always go, go, go. I’m taking 14 credits of 300-level classes, planning a wedding and I have a job. Sometimes life can get a little too hectic for me.

I always forget to take a second to just breathe. It doesn’t have to be that long. It can just be five minutes of relaxation and, trust me, it will be worth your while.

2. Take time for yourself.

I know once we start studying we feel like we have to keep going until we are done. No breaks. We do not believe in breaks because breaks hinder our time management. This is not correct.

According to the Academic Success Center at Oregon State University, if you have been studying for a while and are not able to focus as effectively, then it is time for a break. If you take that small break, you are likely to come back with a clearer mind than before.

3. Remember to eat.

Over this last spring break, my blood was taken for a check-up. The doctors found that I had very low blood sugar. This was because I would skip meals a lot while at college due to my “lack of time.”

The doctors said that if I continued skipping meals as I had been, that I could become hypoglycemic. This has made it very hard for me in school because if I do not eat, I become lightheaded and shaky.

Moral of the story: eat!

4. Get at least seven hours of sleep.

A common misconception among college students is there is no time for sleep during finals week. We often say, “We’ll sleep when we’re dead.”

This has actually been proven to hinder test-taking performance.

According to a study conducted by researchers from two universities in Belgium, out of 621 first-year university students surveyed, the students who got a good night’s sleep (seven hours or more) performed better on exams.

5. Smile!

We need to take time to find happiness in our lives during stressful moments in order to keep a positive outlook.

According to a study conducted by University of Kansas psychologists, smiling reduces stress and helps us feel better. I don’t know about you, but I think that is incentive enough to smile.

As we go into finals week, let us remember that we need to take time for ourselves in order to take time forour finals.