As the weather gets colder and the Halloween candy begins to run out there is one more battle everyone has to face before (and for many, after) the holidays…. Exams. Final exams and diplomas are a stressful time for everyone. With the lack of sleep and higher than ever stress levels, it can be very difficult to find time to dedicate to yourself and most importantly, your mental-health.
Finding time for yourself during exam season is a difficult task. Yes, grades are important but sacrificing your mental health for them will have more devastating effects on your future than getting a low grade in a class. Finding a good balance is crucial.
It’s unrealistic to think that you can be stress free during exam time. I personally find some level of stress a motivation to be productive. However, exam time doesn’t need to destroy your mental and physical well-being.
Here are a few things that have helped me stay mentally healthy through this stressful time:
Do Something Fun
This is usually something as simple as reading my favourite book, walking my dog or making a cup of tea. Taking time out of your busy day to focus on yourself for a few moments can work wonders. If I am stuck on a question or don’t know how to begin revising for an exam, I take a step back, clear my head and have more success when I come back to it.
When I have exams approaching I often find myself hidden away in the library, eating junk food at strange and irregular times. Although this is expected, it’s a terrible habit. I’m not able to spend a lot of time exercising so what I do is hit up the gym for thirty minutes max. I usually run and then get home as soon as I can. You could also follow along with a yoga video on YouTube or go for a walk around the neighbourhood. Getting out and dedicating time to myself without worrying about school is the best thing during these exams. It’s simple and it works.
Get Support from Family and Friends
Even though it might not seem like it sometimes, our parents, grandparents, friends and family have all been through exams before. They understand the stress we are put under during this time because they’ve had to deal with it too.
I used to always think my parents had no idea what I was dealing with, until recently when I vented to my mum about everything I had to do. To my surprise I felt more relaxed and ready to get everything done after I had gotten everything off my chest. So vent! Rant! Get support from those who are there to support you.
ConnecTeen is here to support you as well. Talk to us when you’re feeling stressed.
With everything that I have to do during exams eating well is at the bottom of my to-do list. But this year I made a conscious effort to do my best and eat healthy during the school year and most importantly, the exam period.
An occasional energy drink is fine but eating good food like fruit, nuts and vegetables significantly increased the amount of time I was able to focus and do work without crashing.
It was easy to switch to eating well by simply being conscious of the food I choose to eat without cutting out my favourites. I mean, who doesn’t love the occasional doughnut…
Get Enough Sleep
Pulling an all-nighter before that huge calculus exam is almost too tempting but it’s not worth it. Sleep is a necessity for the body and brain to be able to process all of the information that you learned that day. Without sleep you don’t perform to your greatest potential and therefore it’s doing more harm than good. No matter what, a good night’s sleep will benefit you and allow you to be alert and present for what that day, or that exam, might throw at you.
Exams are tough and seem like they’ll never end, but eventually they do. Keep that in mind as you’re slogging through study notes and textbook chapters.
Grades are important but they’re not worth sacrificing your mental and physical health for.
Remember during the coming exam time to take some time every day to focus on taking care of yourself!