• +44 7526938805
  • hello@bexharper.com

Tag Archive school

Dealing with Exam Stress and Anxiety

Lots of people suffer with exam stress and anxiety but here are a few ways you can help prepare yourself for exam season. If you are in the midst of university finals, GCSE and A-Level exams, or if your children are preparing for the 11+ exams, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Time out – Whilst studying is important, it is even more important to keep a healthy work-life balance. What this means is making sure you take time out of your week to do things you enjoy, such as sport, music, relaxation and watching your favourite shows. Particularly the night before an exam, you do not want to be studying, but making sure your bag is packed for the day and that you are sure you have everything you need, and then do something enjoyable, before getting an early night.
  2. A healthy diet and lifestyle – making sure you drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and that you get enough protein, is important for your exam-ready brain. Often when we are stressed, our bodies crave sugar, caffeine or alcohol. Whilst we feel our bodies want these, it is actually the sensation that it provides for our bodies that we crave – the energy boost or the feeling of relaxation. Instead make sure you fuel your body with foods that will benefit you, and drink plenty of water.
  3. Aromatherapy – Many will agree that lavender essential oil can be relaxing, but some say rosemary helps with concentration and memory, too. I know many people who have taken a cotton handkerchief with them to an exam that they have previously dabbed lavender and rosemary oil on to keep them calm. Either way, make sure avoid essential oils if you are asthmatic or pregnant and check with your doctor if you are concerned.
  4. Breathing exercises and meditation – apps like Headspace which teaches meditation, and apps or Youtube videos of nature sounds (rainfall sounds, ocean waves, etc) can be calming and allow you time out from your daily life. Giving yourself just 5-10 minutes a day can be very beneficial to your health.
  5. Exercise – exercise is extremely important for realising the feel-good hormones that relieve stress and improve your mood. Exercise has been proven to help combat depression and anxiety and recent research has found that exercise that involves being immersed in nature has an even bigger effect. So hiking, camping, beach walks, digging over the allotment, gardening, visiting botanical gardens and other outdoor fitness activities such as running can greatly improve your mental health. Remember to always check with your doctor that the exercise you do is suitable for your physical health.
  6. Sleep – Making sure you are well rested and have plenty of down-time before bed is essential. The blue light from our computer, TV and smartphone screens sends a signal to the body that tells us to be awake. So apps like f.lux or Twillight can help dim your screens and get you ready for bed. Try to avoid watching anything too exciting, scary or mysterious before bed so you won’t be wondering as you try to sleep who the killer is in your latest crime drama! Try taking a hot bath, reading before bed and make sure you have a light snack, such as a banana or some toast, and a small glass of water before bed to avoid hunger and dehydration.
  7. Be prepared – Don’t stay up late the night before an exam. Be sure to start your revision with plenty of time (weeks or even months before your exam) and stop the day before at no later than 5pm. Have a nice dinner and do something relaxing and enjoyable with friends or family in the evening, pack your bag and make sure you get an early night.

 

Good luck and please feel free to get in touch if you feel you would benefit from tutoring or coaching by emailing me: hello@bexharper.com

 

 

N.B. Whilst I am an experienced tutor, teacher and coach, I am not a therapist, counsellor or mental health professional. If you are concerned about your mental health, always speak to your doctor, or if you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact a suicide helpline.