Credit: Tim Mitchell/Ri
With exam season fast approaching, here are some tried and tested approaches to reduce your stress levels over the next few months.
- Study well:
- Don’t cram – make a revision timetable and give yourself plenty of time to revise
- Use deeper learning techniques – don’t just highlight your notes, instead, make up study questions, test yourself, make your own summaries and diagrams of complex ideas
- Break down large topics into smaller, more manageable chunks
- Don’t revise too late into the evening and make sure that you switch off screens for an hour before you go to sleep
- Ask for your teachers, parents and friends for help – you’re all in this together!
- If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t cope, don’t bottle it up, find someone to talk to
- Look after yourself:
- Give yourself time each day to relax and do something that you enjoy.
- Fresh air and exercise – being active reduces stress, keeps you focused and calms you down. Try the Couch to 5k plan
- Yoga – 35 minutes of yoga a day was found to reduce exam-related stress AND improve immunity. There are plenty of YouTube videos to follow if you’re not an expert yogi already!
- Go for a nature walk. A recent study has shown that spending 20 minutes a day, strolling or sitting in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature will significantly reduce your stress hormone levels.
- Mindfulness and mediation can really help to clear your mind. Why not try Smiling Mind – a free app to guide you through mindfulness meditation.
- Get enough sleep – getting 8 hours sleep will improve your exam grades
- Avoid too much sugar and caffeine
- Eat more omega-3 fatty acids (these reduce stress and improve concentration, and are found in walnuts, avocados, eggs and fish and more)
- Bananas and milk before bedtime could help you to sleep as they contain tryptophan, a precursor to sleep-inducing compounds serotonin and melatonin
- The antioxidants in dark chocolate have been found to reduce stress hormones in the body (about 40g a day will do the job nicely)
- Snack on a handful of nuts, which contain B-vitamins, known to reduce stress and blood pressure
- Eat more vitamin C (found to reduce stress and will also boost your immunity) – there are high levels of vitamin C in fruits, such as oranges, kiwis and strawberries
- Sipping hot drinks can be very calming – why not try relaxing herbal teas with lavender or camomile?
Most importantly, remember that there is life beyond revision and exams!
What do you do to reduce exam stress? Share your top tips below.
And, good luck!