By Allison Antram, Managing Editor & Kayleen Bengtson, Business Manager

Spring has sprung and we know what that means: March Madness brackets, outdoor activities galore, copious end-of-the-year events, and looming finals week. All things considered, the sprint to May can cause an obscene amount of stress. Transitioning out of one season and into another can be exciting, relieving, and overwhelming all at the same time. As end-of-year anticipation builds, here a few “spring cleaning” tips for all aspects of life to help you finish well:

SCHEDULE: Create margin.

The end of the year seems crowded by events and exams, thus it serves you well to know when you’re most productive and make sure that time is available for you to use wisely. The idea here is to create margin – the space between yourself and your limits. As Dr. Paul Stephens discussed in this week’s “Chill Seminar,” we have no margin. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Why? Because we live in an era of discontentment, which leaves us constantly wanting more and pushing boundaries to get it. Instead, learn to say no. Know your limits – how much can you study or work before you lose focus? How much sleep do you need to be productive? Do you need time to yourself everyday to be at your best? Ask yourself these kinds of questions so that you can not only use your time to the best capacity, but also so you can feel like a healthy human being (and therefore not miserable or consumed with busyness).

SOCIAL LIFE: Be intentional and fully present.

Asbury is a small school – it’s all too easy to be on your way to two hours of productivity, stop in the Stuce, and that time is then instead used to be sitting around with friends doing nothing. Your relationships and work will be better served with time used intentionally— vset aside time for specific things, and actually do them. When you are with friends, take full advantage of the time by being entirely present and engaging in quality conversation. When you are doing homework, put your phone down and respectfully tell your friends you have things to do. Surrounding yourself with community is incredibly important, and should not be discounted; however, you are at Asbury for an education – find the balance of each, and step fully into both.

SCHOOL: If you don’t have a planner, buy one. If you have one, actually use it.

If you heed only one piece of our advice, let it be this one. Organizing your days and sorting out what needs done will help you use your time wisely and de-clutter your life. Your to-do list becomes far less overwhelming if you look at it day-by-day and stick to a balanced schedule. Put to practice the “snowball effect,” that is, tackling smaller tasks, such as emails first, and then moving to bigger projects, such as your ten-page paper due tomorrow. Make utilizing your planner a discipline in college so that it becomes an easy-to-stick-to habit in your post-college career.

SLEEP: Do it.

This goes along with balanced scheduling; frankly it shapes your entire daily schedule. During the process of sleeping your body is emotionally resting and physically healing itself. Therefore, if we are consistently depriving ourselves of sleep we become more irritable, lazy and unmotivated. Often times when we are consumed by busyness, we feel that sleep is the unnecessary task and gets pushed aside in order to plod through the end of the year. Do not be fooled – you cannot escape the consequences of sleep deprivation. Stop making excuses why you can’t carve out time to recharge. If you’re a morning person, cut out the late-night food runs and go to bed early. If you’re an afternoon person, schedule group projects in the early evening before your brain crashes at night. If you’re an evening person, allot yourself generous nap times to compensate for those study sessions in the wee hours of the morning.

SABBATH: Take a break.

To simply “stop stressing” is so, so much easier said than done, but this is an easy and proactive way to ease anxieties. In order to be at your best and do your best, it’s crucial to not be burned out. If you do not currently honor the Sabbath, we highly encourage you do carve out time to rest. The key here is to rejuvenate your soul, not numb your mind. Binge-watching your favorite Netflix show does not equate rest—we know this from experience— rather it simply fills up the day with pseudo-relaxation. Do things that are life giving for you: watch the sunrise (or sunset), go for a walk, enjoy a quality cup of coffee, take a nap in your Eno. Do whatever allows you the space to regroup and recharge.