How to Deal With Exam Stress

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Being in the heat of exam season, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to share this post. Stress is something that affects us all – whether it be work, school or family related. Knowing how to deal with stress and channel your energy is the ultimate key.

Here are some of my personal tips for dealing with exam stress but they are most definitely applicable to any of life’s stressful situations.

Exercise – for me exercise is equally about physical health as it is about mental health. Exercise not only energizes my body but simultaneously clears my mind. I always feel great after a good boxing session, a brisk walk or an intense gym class. Of course there is a physiological effect when your body releases endorphins that act as naturally mood-boosters but the feeling of accomplishment after working your ass off (pun intended) also works wonders.

Take advantage of your most productive hour – I am probably the biggest morning person. Ever since I was a kid I have had a natural body clock that wakes me up extremely early. (It used to be 5 am on the dot but at least now it  has been “relaxed” till 6). So morning is definitely my best bet. When it comes to exams/studying, I like to get up as early as possible and get as much work done while I’m still feeling fresh and energized. On the other hand, I have friends who are complete night owls and are most productive from the evening onwards. Either way, making the most use out of your productive preferences means you are guaranteed the best use of your day, saving you time, energy and stress.

A fabulous bath – as I mentioned earlier, I am most productive from the early morning onwards, meaning that after dinner I am completely exhausted. Nothing unwinds my mind more than sinking into a good old bath after a long day at the books. It is pure bliss! (Try this great relaxing bath recipe here). 

Take the road less travelled – I mean this one quite literally. I often find the monotony of a daily routine can lead to  a further build up of stress. For me, travelling the same route to varsity day in and day out reminds me of the potential stress or intense workload I am going to face. (I am sure those in 9-5 office jobs can agree with me here). To change it up, I opt for a different route even if it takes a little longer. There is something so refreshing about that change of scenery on your early morning commute.

Get some fresh air and sunlight – being trapped in a library or at your desk for hours on end can make you feel completely caged in. There is nothing like a bit of fresh air and vitamin D to get you back on track. And maybe a little tan while you’re at it. Holidays are right around the corner #justsaying.

Meditation – I have attempted meditation here and there but haven’t gotten into it properly. I have heard that it has tremendous effects on your mind and body when practiced daily. And all it takes is 10 minutes! Definitely going to try get into this a little bit more.

Get enough sleep – This is such an important but often overlooked cause of stress. During exam season, stress definitely takes a toll on my sleep. Being an early riser means that I don’t need to trade hours of sleep for hours studying but exam stress often creeps into my sleep cycles. Has anyone else ever had the experience of dreaming about a subject? Try having that with maths! #Nightmare. To avoid getting into these kinds of problems, I like to put chamomile oil in my bath. It works wonders and I sleep like a baby.

Get a change of scenery – quite similar to number 2, but working in the same environment can either leave you feeling mentally stuck or bring back negative memories of past work experiences. I like to change up my work environment and thus rotate between different rooms in my house or going in to the library. That being said, I even find small things like sitting away from my usual spot at the table, works just as well.

Treat yourself – I quickly fall into a very structured routine during exam time that mostly consists of studying, gym and meal time which like it sounds, is extremely boring. Life is meant to be enjoyed and letting exams weigh you down isn’t great for your wellbeing, especially if the timetable is really spread out like mine always seem to be. So make sure to treat yourself with something as a break from exam life. I promise you the few minutes you spend away from the books (either pampering yourself or taking some time off) will only be of benefit and you will come back with a fiercer, sharper attitude and a clearer mental perspective.

Wishing all those writing the best of luck! You are serious rockstars for making it this far so don’t doubt yourselves now!

If you have any tips on how to deal with exam stress, please leave them in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you!

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