April 28, 2018, by Anjni
Just Another Exam Blog: Ease The Stress
So the month of May is almost upon us and that means those exams that once seemed so far upon the horizon, are practically within reaching distance, and I for one am a bundle of nerves – as expected. Now whilst this may seem like just another exam blog, I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to revise, how many hours to put in or even list a set of sure-fire methods for success because such aspects are subjective and – annoyingly – differ person to person (that and you’ve probably heard them to death anyway). In fact, I STILL don’t know which methods work for me – being in second year you’d think I’d have gotten the hang of it by now! But unfortunately I’m still trying a bunch of techniques – with varying amounts of success – yet I remain hopeful that I may one day find the one. And if you’re anything like me, I’m here to say that it’s completely okay; it’s all part of the learning process, you’ll soon adapt and stumble through it and, soon enough, you’ll have your killer revision technique down. But like I said, I won’t be sharing tips on the perfect revision strategy (if I could concoct a recipe for that, I would). Instead what I will share are a few things that you can do to help ease the stress of exams and make you feel a little less on edge during such a trying period.
Get Some Fresh Air
During exam season it’s common to lock yourself away with your books whether that’s in the recesses of your room, in George Green, or even any of the other various study spaces offered in and around campus. And whilst such environments are good in allowing you to focus and get some work done (for the most part at least; I’m not saying you won’t get distracted here – sadly procrastination is unavoidable and will strike even in the most studious of spaces), they can sometimes be stifling and spending extended periods in such spaces without a break can leave you feeling a little drained. That’s why it’s important that you get some fresh air and take a break once in a while; go for a walk, sit outside on a bench or laze on the grass and enjoy the scent of summer blossoms and freshly cut grass as you watch the squirrels scamper up their trees. Even if it’s only for ten minutes. Give yourself this time and you’ll actually notice a difference. You’ll feel calmer and once you resume your studies you’ll even find that your concentration levels are higher thanks to this short exposure to a change in environment.
Exercise & Eating
Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress because it triggers the release of endorphins – “feel-good hormones” – and as such can help you feel a little calmer during this trying period. Even if you’re not a gym-buff (believe me, I’m certainly not), some gentle yoga or pilates, even a brisk walk or a bit of regular cycling is enough and will give you something else to focus on for a while that doesn’t involve memorising a bunch of definitions or countless mechanisms of action. Not only that, but it can really help fight the feeling of lethargy that comes with this intense study period, especially since eating habits go all sorts of crazy in these short few weeks . And this is normal during exams; not only are we super stressed, but we tend to consume more since our brains are busy burning those calories. But unfortunately we tend to consume a lot of the wrong foods – chocolate bars, pizza, McDonalds – and as such we’re normally left feeling a little sluggish and just plain meh. Now as a student I too am no stranger to those 12am ice cream cravings or those countless, cheeky domino orders, but it’s important to remember to fuel our bodies with a little of the good stuff, you know that healthy brain food since it’ll help us feel a little less sloth-ish. That doesn’t mean you need to give up junk completely though, by all means indulge in a cheeky choccy once in a while (stressed spelled backward is desserts after all), it’ll help soothe the nerves a little, just make sure the junk you’re consuming doesn’t consume you.
Talk to People & Socialise
Like I said, during exam season we may find the tendency to lock ourselves away, but a little human interaction during such a period can be extremely helpful in calming those nerves. Seeing friendly faces and interacting in between revision or catching up over a coffee goes a long way in alleviating that stressy-feeling. It’s important that you’re able to maintain a balance between studying and socialising so that you don’t lose yourself in a pit of anxiety or become overwhelmed by stress. So next time someone asks “what’s up?” instead of snapping back with “my stress levels that’s what!” take a short moment to chit chat, chances are that their stress levels are through the roof too. A good natter about even the most random of things can do wonders in helping you feel a little more at ease and is a great way to take the focus off of your exams for a bit.
So there you have it! No doubt you’ve heard them all before, but these are just a couple of things I try to do to help ease the stress of exams during such a trying period. And I know it can be super tough to do anything but study-study-study when exams are so close, but it’s important you take care of yourself and find ways to de-stress so that you can perform at your best and smash those exams! Best of luck, go ace ‘em!