Pace Yourself.

Everyone’s journey looks a little different. Explore yours. 

Congratulations on surviving week one, whether you are a new transfer student, a first year who survived their first semester at Carolina, or a senior who just made it through their last first week of classes. Remember that your path may not look like your peers’. Look below for strategies to make your personal experience at Carolina your best experience.  

Find Your Network!

Find groups of peers who are going the same direction that you are. Find people that you want to be associated with in terms of your field of study, organizations, and networks. These people will often influence path in terms of your goals. 

Find people to match your pace.

Once you find your network, find individuals or groups within that network who match your pace. Carolina is an ambitious environment to be surrounded by. Competitive or not, it may pay off to find a group of peers or individuals around you that match your pace! Whether as study friends, accountability partners or for social vibes, it will pay off to be around other. Collaborate Network. Brainstorm. Support each other. 

Take the Long View!

You have already fought half the battle by choosing to your own path. Now it’s up to you to maintain it. It is very easy to fall into the clutches of imposter syndrome and comparison. However, looking forward and focusing on your own goals (whether that is joining a certain organization, finding an internship, achieving high honors, or securing a job), your plan to get there and your own pace will give you much more peace in the long run. Reassess as needed.

Adjusting Back to Campus

Rameses with sunglasses. Welcome back Tar Heels.

Thrilled to see some of your favorite people again.
Annoyed by the lines of students everywhere you turn.
Worried about classes.
Excited about the semester ahead.
Transitions almost always mean complicated emotions, daily challenges, and usually some sense of excitement for the potential ahead. No matter what you’re felling about being here, we want you to make the most of your spring semester. Some ideas to help you get started:

Accept your feelings. You feel what you feel! Adapting to any change takes energy. Be compassionate with yourself.

Look ahead. Focus on the future. Visualize who you want to be, what you want to learn, and where you want to end up by the end of this semester. The bigger picture can help when the daily slog is tough.

Remember the “yet.” All change takes time and practice to get used to it all. Add “yet” to the end of critical self-talk. “I don’t know anything about this material….yet.”  And then take it one step at a time to work towards the end result that you seek.

Build relationships. People are – heels down – the best part of being at UNC Chapel Hill. And the best marker for happiness is having warm relationships. Everyone you encounter on campus can become a relationship that offers warmth, support, humor, or joy. Be intentional this semester about building connection. Be curious, listen to understand, and make time for the people you adore. Connection can help you navigate these challenges with people who are facing similar circumstances.

Attend a Week of Welcome event, a campus effort to celebrate and support students at the beginning of each semester with fun events, informational fairs, and late-night programs. A full listing of WOW events are available on Heel Life.

Start organized, stay organized. Time is finite; activities are seemingly infinite. Prioritize as best you can! Schedule time for the activities that are important to you and needed to meet your goals. The Learning Center has a great semester planning tool that might help linked from their “Calendars and College” page.

Ask for help. It’s easy to feel a bit lost at the beginning of the semester. You haven’t quite found your routine yet and everything feels new. Ask your friends, your professor, anyone you trust when you have questions or need help. And remember, if you can’t find the support you need around you, use the filters on the Heels Care Network website to find supportive resources that best fit your needs including a Peer Chat staffed by LSN

Four Emotions Of Winter Break

You have arrived home, with friends, or wherever you are spending Winter Break. The post-exam slump is over. You are in the groove of spending time with loved ones, relaxing, and trying to work on whatever it is you plan to fit into the holidays.  

The truth is, this time can be special, but it can also be extremely hard. You will face many emotions in the next few weeks. This may be frustrating when all you want to do is take a break.  

It is important to process these emotions so you can experience the break in a healthy way. Here are our thoughts on how to deal with four emotions you may encounter this Winter Break:  

  1. Excitement 

You have not spent time with your loved ones for a while – enjoy it! Perhaps you have plans you are looking forward to – live in the moment. Treasure the joy of the memories you are making. Stay present. As the excitement may taper off, it will be easy to seclude yourself to whatever makes you most comfortable. It is important to spend time in safe spaces but remember that healthy in-person connection is vital to your well-being.  

  1. Exhaustion 

You have worked hard! Rest – you deserve it. Take time to breathe and remember that seclusion and virtual isolation is not the best form of relaxation. Consider taking a hiatus from the digital world, for whatever length of time seems best to you. Spend time in places, doing activities, with people that make you feel whole.  

  1. Hesitation 

One of the worst feelings moving into winter break is the hesitation that stems from change. You have been away for months, and change is inevitable. This change – whether in places, or people, can bring up confusing emotions: sadness, grief, anger, hurt. Face the raw emotions. Then, approach each moment with gratitude. Gratitude has been found both experientially and scientifically to be a powerful tool. Focus on the wonderful moments you can have, even if it is not the way it was.  

  1. Grief 

Similarly, returning home or to loved ones can cause grief. Loved ones may be gone, or people may have moved away. You may miss being with your people on campus. Loss is excruciating, whether it involves death or not. Be kind to yourself. Take time to grieve. Be patient, and do not expect your emotions to be linear. Spend time with loved ones – soak up the love around you. 

Permission to Love Yourself

Permission slip: We grant you permission to love yourself just as you are. no waiting periods. no exceptions.

You’re allowed to love yourself exactly as you are – right now. 

You have permission to love yourself without exception. You didn’t need it from us, but we’re giving it to you anyway. 

You’re brilliant and uniquely you. You’re not a project that needs to be fixed. 

During this time of year, you might hear resolutions from people that want to change everything about themselves and their lives. No one needs to be reinvented to be loved! 

You might have resolutions that you’re planning, and that’s fine (we do have some tips for setting resolutions that stick).

Remember that you will be you every single day until you meet those goals, and then you will still be you once you reach them. You have permission to love yourself right now and during that whole journey. Don’t put it off until you reach a goal.

Friend, you’re worthy of being loved right now. 

Wrapping Up the Semester

It’s (Almost) Time to Take a Break

By the end of this week, many folks on campus will feel lighter with fewer responsibilities. It feels good to wrap up the loose ends of the semester – final projects and exams, saying goodbye to friends, packing up your things, preparing for travel and holidays. 

Even with that lightening of our loads, anytime the rhythm of our day shifts, it can feel difficult. Here are some strategies to help you stay healthy and well as you shift from all-out academic mode to your winter break. 

  • Manage your free time: At the beginning, the extra time can feel like a gift! But the adjustment to free time can be a struggle after a while or, for some, right away.
    • Start by taking time to relax.
    • Consider making a plan or list of things you would like to do over break.
    • Schedule some of your time with things that make you feel good!
  • Prep for family & friends: Plan ahead for family and friend encounters.
    • What questions or conflicts typically arise?
    • How do you want to respond?
    • Make a list of coping skills that work for you.
  • Focus on you: 
    • This break can provide you time to focus on how you’re feeling, what you might need, and how to make a plan moving forward.
    • Support your holiday wellbeing with strategies from Student Wellness.
  • Take care of your mental health: Many people experience a worsening of mental health symptoms around this time of year. If this happens to you, you aren’t alone!

Healthy Haps this Week

Monday 12/5

Tuesday 12/6

Wednesday 12/7

Thursday 12/8

Friday 12/9

Saturday 12/10

Wrapping up the Fall Semester 2022

The student a cappella group, UNC Clef Hangers, perform at The Old Well at dusk on the last day of classes (LODOC) for the fall semester on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, December 1, 2021. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Every semester during the week before finals, UNC-CH collaborates on a wellness initiative to support students. The goal is to raise awareness, provide new information, prompt reflection, and highlight services, resources, and events around campus by focusing on the importance of:

  • Sleep is all about patterns. Can you work to keep healthy sleep patterns consistent during finals? 
  • Nutrition means listening to your body. Eat when you’re hungry; stop when you’re full. You might plan ahead and make some meals and snacks in bulk so you can eat nourishing food without needing a lot of time.
  • Activity – Movement can help you retain material better than if you study while sitting still. So ride a stationary bike while you review your notes. Go for a walk on Battle Park trails to take a movement and nature break.
  • Connecting with people you adore is essential to finals success, improving your executive function, learning, and memory. Support each other during finals! Check in on a genuine level, talk about topics outside of academics, study and take fun breaks together, and avoid stress competition or comparing grades.
  • Knowledge – This time of year is all about gaining and retaining knowledge. How you study can make a difference! Use active study techniques like creating flashcards, using a study group, or scheduling breaks after short bursts of learning.
  • Self-Care means checking in with yourself about what you need and then making that happen when you can. Keep it simple! Pause and unplug from tech for a few minutes. Get outside. Take a few deep breaths. Hydrate. Play a favorite song. Make sure you take some moments just for you during finals.

Supportive Events

This calendar will be updated throughout finals – check back often for more events and email if you have an event to add!

Monday 12/5

Tuesday 12/6

Wednesday 12/7

Friday 12/9

Saturday 12/10

Winter Break Hours for Campus Health, CAPS, and Campus Rec are listed. Rec is open thru Friday at 9 pm and reopens 1/2 from 6 am -12 pm. Campus Health and CAPS are open through 12/23 and reopen 1/3 from 8 am - 5 pm.
The Carolina Union Activities Board holds an event where students and staff can create gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and icing in the Great Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The event is held in conjunction with LDOC (Last Day Of Class) festivities. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Gratitude, Culture, and Food

Thanksgiving can be a time that brings up a lot of feelings for people. Be kind to yourself and the people around you!


Thanksgiving often brings up thoughts about gratitude. While just noticing your gratitude makes a difference, you can add benefit to the people around you by expressing gratitude to them. Encourage people around the dinner table to share a story of when they were grateful for someone at the meal. 

You can also write about gratitude, and jot down the little moments of your day that make you feel grateful. If you want to bring this idea to Thanksgiving, create a gratitude tree or jar for everyone to use, or write gratitude postcards to people who are far away. You could also make a collage, Reel, or TikTok to visually express gratitude

However you notice and/or share – take time this holiday to experience gratitude. 


Your family may have traditions that you invoke for Thanksgiving. Cherish the ones that bring you joy, and don’t be afraid to suggest new ways of doing things this holiday to move away from activities that no longer serve you.

Remember that the history around Thanksgiving is complex. Thanksgiving can be a reminder of the genocide and violence that Native communities experienced and continue to experience. Decolonize your Thanksgiving by learning about, listening to, and celebrating Native people.


For many of us, food is central to our holiday. Try to make food a positive experience for everyone this holiday. If you talk about food, focus on the wonderful flavors of the season and gratitude for the land, workers, and chef who helped bring the food to the table. Use mindful eating strategies: 

  • Stick to normal eating habits, eating consistently and mindfully throughout the day. 
  • Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full.
  • Be present during meals. Slow down and notice how the food tastes. Feel the pleasure and satisfaction in the eating experience.
  • Add foods, don’t subtract. All foods fit into healthy eating! Consider how to add nutrient-filled and diverse foods into your body.

May your Thanksgiving be full of experiences for which to be grateful. 

Mindful Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is right around the corner, and with it comes the meals. While holiday meals can be full of love and joy, they can also be stressful for some individuals. Below are some mindful eating tips that can help you celebrate the holidays while also prioritizing self-care.

  1. Stick to normal eating habits. The holidays are not the time to significantly alter your eating habits. Don’t skip food early in the day to save room for the big holiday meal. Eat consistently and mindfully.
  2. Listen to your body. Healthy and mindful eating patterns come from enjoying all food groups and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues. Remember that all foods fit into healthy eating. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
  3. Practice mindful eating. Be present during meals. Slow down and enjoy your food. Have conversations with people you enjoy and talk about culinary traditions in your community. Notice how the conversations and food make you feel.
  4. Get your blood pumping. Health isn’t only about nutrition; physical activity is another important way to practice health. Enjoy the food, festivities, and people that come with the holidays, while including enjoyable activities.
  5. Stay hydrated. Water helps combat fatigue. Stay hydrated instead of caffeinated. Opt for water instead of coffee or soda.
  6. Enjoy your meal. Eat because you want to and are enjoying it. Don’t force yourself to eat something you don’t like. If you realize you are too full and it’s unpleasant to eat, then stop eating.
  7. You do you. What health behaviors bring you joy? Add foods you love to the menu and move in ways you enjoy over the holidays.
  8. Take a break. The holiday season can be a busy and stressful time. Find time to relax and take time for yourself during this season.

Practicing Gratitude

Hello I Am Grateful words on a name tag sticker telling others you are thankful and appreciative for the valuable things in your life such as health, friends and family

Benefits of being thankful are nearly endless. Research suggests that taking time to reflect and notice the things we are thankful for means we experience more positive feelings, sleep better, express more kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Some ideas to inspire and refresh your gratitude practice:

Keep a gratitude journal: Regularly write about the moment for which you’re thankful, ideally noticing new things each day. Be specific. Instead of “I’m grateful for my roommates,” write “Today, my roommate cooked me dinner because they knew I was stressed.”

Recognize and plan for obstacles: Yes, gratitude will help you, and yes, reflecting on it each day will be difficult. What might get in your way? If you tend to be exhausted by the end of the day, do your gratitude practice in the a.m.

Mix it up: Bored with journaling? Make a gratitude jar instead. Write gratitude postcards. Share your gratitude around the dinner table. Go on a gratitude walk, observing things around you as you walk. Make a gratitude collage – take pictures of things you’re grateful for and create a collage with them.

Planning for Finals and Holiday Stress

Hand hold wooden cubes spelling PLAN.

The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and so are the holidays! There will be more to do these next few weeks. Help yourself by creating a plan. 

  • Look ahead and evaluate. Take a look at your upcoming calendar, your class assignments, your holiday plans, and ideal gift recipients. Evaluate and clarify priorities. 
  • Make a To-Do List. Based on those priorities, write down what you need to do. Focus on one task at a time – as you are only ONE person.  
  • Practice Financial Wellness. Consider your budget for November and December. The end of the year is often one of the most challenging times to stay financially well with the strain of travel costs, winter break plans, celebrations with friends, and celebratory gifts. Be realistic with what you can afford to spend. What are your personal short term and long term financial goals? How does your spending fit into this?  Learn more about tips for financial wellness through UNC’s Student Wellness office. 
  • Monitor your emotions. Upcoming deadlines and planning for the end of year can serve as a recipe for an emotional storm. Managing and planning for assignments, events, and job schedules may prove useful to prevent this from happening. Try giving yourself grace during this time frame. If things get too hard, take a deep breath, step back and then try again. Managing your emotions can help you stay on track with the plan you created.  

This can be a busy time of the year as you grind to wrap up the semester and prepare to spend time with family and friends. Make it easier for yourself by planning out what you can.