While a little amount of stress can help you stay focused and motivated to study, elevated amounts of stress have been associated with an inability to concentrate, low self-esteem and other mental health concerns. Your wellbeing is extremely important and we encourage all students to practise self-care. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
We understand that it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. So we have come up with simple yet effective ways to take care of yourself during exam period.
Take a break
As ironic as it seems, taking a break from studying is sometimes exactly what you need to be able to do your work more productively. Studies indicate that breaks will actually help you more in the long run - think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. You can try setting a regular timer to help remind you to take breaks during your study session and also avoid letting those 10-15 minute breaks turn into 3 hour Youtube binges.
During your break you can incorporate activities that you enjoy. Whether it’s drawing, going for a walk, meditation or having a chat with a friend make sure you keep doing fun things during your exam period. It’ll help keep your stress levels a
Get your beauty sleep
No, sleep is not for the weak. The long nights of cramming information in are over. Studies show that students who get between 7-8 hours of sleep retain more information and hav greater focus on what they’re learning each day. You’d be amazed what a good night’s sleep will do for your performance, mental health, general wellbeing, the list goes on! Try to keep the times you go to and get out of bed consistent, as it helps with keeping a routine.
It is also important to note that studying in your bed can actually make it difficult to sleep. This is because your brain starts associating your bed with studying and therefore your brain will be in active mode even when you want to get some sleep. Make sure you study on a desk, or in another room/ space. Let your desk be your study area, and your bed be your oasis.
Exercise and eat healthy
A healthy body goes hand in hand with a healthy mind. It can be hard fitting in workout sessions during exam period but we encourage students to stay active. It can be a short 15-30 minute session of any exercise you enjoy. Whether it’s going for a walk, run or lifting weights, getting exercise will give your brain a break and you can get your daily dose of vitamin D and fresh air. You’ll also feel more focused when you return to studying.
Don’t rely on that packet of Maltesers to fuel you up during exam period. It’s tempting to pump your body full of sugar and junk food to give you the energy (and emotional support) to push through your studying. However, it can actually make it harder to concentrate for long periods of time, as well as make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Eat nutritious food with a lot of protein and healthy fats to give you longer lasting energy. Here are some suggestions:
- Apple slices and peanut butter
- Hummus and veggie slices
- Air popped popcorn
Have a support system
If you start to feel overwhelmed, talk to a friend or someone you trust. This safety net can help you take a lot of weight off your shoulders. You could chat to a family member or a friend who is also studying; you might find they can relate or have had similar experiences.
Whether you want to talk about the stress you are going through or just want to chat to someone to get your mind off of studying, it is always a good idea to keep a close network of friends for mental and emotional support.
Limit social media use
Taking breaks and talking to your friends online is a great strategy for looking after your mental health. However, it’s only beneficial if you don’t use it as a means of procrastination. Don’t let that 15-30 minute break turn into hours of texting friends or scrolling through Tik Tok.
If you’re worried about your levels of focus and productivity, it might be best to have a break from social media. You can also use apps to limit your social media usage during the day. Apps like Appblock or Flipd help reduce social media time by temporarily blocking applications.