It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus this year is stress. Research shows that 2/3 of us will experience a mental health problem in our life, and stress is a key factor. With the exam period being well under way, we’re sharing the best ways to help you manage your stress and anxiety levels. It doesn’t matter what year you’re in, the pressure can get to anyone, making it hard to focus on revision and effecting your performance on the day. Stress and anxiety are two things that should never be taking lightly. Both can have a debilitating effect if nothing is done about them.
Everyone has at one-point thought “what’s the point, I’m going to fail anyway”, when they’re revising for their exams. It usually strikes when you’ve hit a particularly difficult topic or have been at it for hours on end and feel like nothing is going in. Whilst it can be easy just to think screw it and give up, it’s essential that you don’t. This sort of mind frame will only limit your chances of success. Instead, try the following to help relieve exam stress and anxiety:
Take regular breaks.
There are countless studies that show regular breaks are essential when it comes to work performance and retention of information. Whilst it varies person to person, it’s advised to revise in 45-90 minute sessions with a 10-15 minute break in-between. Step away from the books, scroll through Insta and look at cute puppy videos on YouTube, before getting stuck into the next session refreshed and ready to learn.
This can be really tricky one, as it’s so easy to increase your stress levels and demotivate yourself when you’re comparing your performance to others. The thing to remember is that people revise and retain information in different ways and just because your mate uses the fancy flash cards, doesn’t mean you’re going to fail if you don’t. If a friend does have an advantage in a topic over you, then the best thing to do is…
Study together -Two heads are better than one!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you just can’t get your head around a particular topic. This can then distract you further from all the other material you need to get through. Studying with other people can really help, as a different perspective often makes things easier to understand.
Have a moan to your mates.
Whether its face to face or over WhatsApp, talking to your mates about exam stress is essential. After all, they know exactly how you feel! It’s proven to put worries into perspective and even release any physical tension that you might not have noticed building up. It can be really hard to open up to someone, but the benefits more than outweigh that fear. Always make sure it’s someone you can trust.
Take some ‘me time’.
“Self-care” may be the latest buzz word, but that doesn’t take away the importance of looking after yourself. Whether that’s doing a face mask and painting your nails, eating a hearty meal, or simply showering and putting on fresh clothes, self-care is all about nourishing your body and mind. By doing so, you improve your mental well-being, relieve your stress and put yourself in a better mind frame to focus on the all-important task at hand – nailing those exams.
Release the endorphins.
As Elle Woods said “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
Endorphins are the chemicals in your brain that create the feeling of happiness and one of the best ways to get them flowing is through exercise. Be it yoga, a kick about in the park, or a sweaty spin class, a little bit of exercise is perfect for relieving exam stress and anxiety. Not only does it get you away from the library for a much-needed break, it can boost your mood and completely clear your mind, leaving you refreshed and ready to get back at it.
Fresh air can do you the world good. Taking a walk outdoors has been proven to not only reduce stress, but also decrease depression and improve mental well being and health. Don’t have the time for a full-on hike around Sefton Park? A brisk ten-minute stroll around the block would suffice or even opening a window and letting some fresh air in can do wonders to change a mood.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful to relieve exam stress and anxiety. If you need more help, why not visit Mind, the mental health charity. We want to wish all students the best of luck in their exams!
Liked this? Why not read our guide to why you should live at The Bridewell for 2018/19.