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Looking after your mental health during exams

Posted at 05 May 2017 in Health & Wellbeing

Exams are one of the biggest causes of student stress.

Whether you just have a couple of exams or you have one what seems like every day, there’s no denying this is the worst time of the year. From getting up at the crack of dawn to bag yourself a seat in the library to living off vending machine snacks and coffee, you’re concentration and energy levels are bound to take a hit.

Keep up a healthy diet

When you’re heading back to halls after an 8 hour revision stint it can be tempting to swing by the local takeaway. Try and stick to (or start on!) a healthy eating routine.

It’s important when you’re revising to get enough nutrients to keep your brain and body functioning properly. Make sure you’re getting a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fruit and veg. Give yourself enough time in the evening to sort out your food for the next day (this will also keep you away from those pricey library café sandwiches…).

Step away from the sugar too, you’ll only end up crashing. Try replacing bags of sweets and cans of fizzy drinks with alternatives like nuts and water.

Plan your day

When you have so much going on, you can get caught in the trap of panicking about what to do more than actually doing anything.

Before you open your textbooks, make a list of things you want to achieve that day. Complete quick notes on a couple of topics? Learn a certain amount of case studies? Set goals for the day to help you, and your mind, to stay on track.

Give yourself a break

Make sure you’re taking time out throughout the day to relax. You’re said to work best in 45-minute chunks – the perfect excuse to go for a short walk outside. Without breaks you’ll become tired, down and less efficient.

If your day is getting too hectic, and your anxieties are building, get a little help from these apps to take time out to breathe and meditate your way to a clearer mindset.

Schedule in time to do something you enjoy with your down time, from hanging out with your friends to watching an episode of your favourite show.

Get physical

Exercise is one of the best way to unwind after a tough day of revision. Even if you’re not keen on the gym you can head out for a walk or try out a taster class.

Your body will be thankful you’re doing something other than sitting down and you’ll get that release of endorphins to lift your spirit!

Meet up with friends

It’s easy to shut yourself away and get into the habit of being alone during exam time. This is a big risk when you’re already stressed. Not having someone to talk to may lead to you getting more anxious.

Hang out for a little with your flatmates or head out for some food with your mates. Try keep off the topic of studying too and you’ll be able to enjoy the break away from your desk.

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