17 Things To Get You Through That Exam Stress
Don't freak - you got this.
Trying to revise for upcoming exams RN? We feel your pain. Exams are the living worst.
Why not watch Anna Akana opening up about mental health online?
When it seems like pressure is coming at you from every angle and everything is shrouded in uncertainty, it’s natural to feel hella stressed. It's not a nice feeling.
What you need are some short and long-term stress antidotes... and you’ve come to the right place.
1. Get to know
Read all about stress and how it works here. There’s no point feeling overwhelmed and trying to struggle through by yourself if it’s getting you down. Knowing the causes, symptoms and other facts about stress will help you to reclaim some of that power back.
2. Go easy on yourself
Are you convinced you’ll never manage to pass all your exams and have no future? We’re often our own worst critic, and our negative thoughts can convince us we’re going to fail. But they’re just thoughts, not facts.
Remember that no-one’s perfect. Try to reward yourself when you’ve tried your best with a hot bath, a catch-up with a friend or a film at the end of the day, instead of criticising yourself for not doing well enough.
Which brings us to…
3. Don’t overdo it
There’s a point where revision stops working – when you’ve sat trying for hours and hours without taking a break.
Schedule in time for short revision breaks every 45 minutes, and try to do things like going for a walk or a run in your longer breaks. Exercise and fresh air will clear your head and get you pumped for the next sesh.
4. Stop comparing
So what if people around you seem to have the whole revision/ exam thing in the bag? This isn’t to do with them, it’s about you.
Comparing yourself to your friends isn’t helpful because you have different needs and a different work flow. You do you.
5. Stare at this calming gif for a moment
Thanks for your time.
6. Listen to soothing sounds of nature
Sometimes (ok, a lot) it’s hard to concentrate on revision, and the noises around you can be a real distraction culprit. Try plugging yourself into the soothing sounds of nature while you work, to keep the sounds you're hearing consistent and help you focus. Try this...
Or if you think that may make you need the toilet constantly, there's always this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNN7iTA57jM
7. Breathe along to this for a full minute
Your breathing can really affect your mood and stress levels, so when you're tense try breathing slowly and deeply for a while. Lots of meditation exercises use focusing on the breath to settle and ground you in the present moment too. Speaking of which…
8. Download a mindfulness app
Mindfulness can help you stay in the present without worrying too much about the future, and can boost your concentration and memory skills. It will give you those feel-good positive vibes, which we could all be doing with RN. Headspace and Calm are popular ones you could try.
9. Eat well
When you’re feeling sorry for yourself it’s tempting to numb the pain by immediately stuffing a chocolate bar in your mouth. This feels amazing in the short-term, but it’s not actually the best thing for stress as it gives you a sharp rise in energy but then may cause a sharper dip in your mood afterwards where you feel more irritable and depressed.
Instead, focus on healthy food that releases energy slowly like pasta and rice to keep your mood consistent and help your body out.
10. Turn off your phone
Buzzing notifications and social media feed updates are the worst for your concentration so turn your phone off, hide it, or even (controversial) ask someone else to hide it.
You can do a mini-binge in your next revision break. Being phoneless can deffo quieten your mind for a while.
11. Convince a loved one to give you a massage
Ease that exam tension.
12. Do a clear up
If you’re going to procrastinate for a half hour, do a full tidy up of your room and throw out (or recycle if you can) all the junk you don’t use or need. This procrastination exercise has the added benefit of a) making your room look nicer b) decluttering your thoughts c) making you feel more invigorated and positive.
13. Make it manageable
Plan detailed revision schedules broken up into manageable chunks of studying. This will make you feel more on top of things and less stressed, because you’ll be able to smugly tick off several tasks per day.
Water, water, water. It improves your memory and concentration.
15. Have an orgasm
Genuinely helps to alleviate stress. You’re welcome.
16. Put it in perspective
Although exams may make you freak, always try to put things into perspective. There’s the option of re-taking if things really go pear-shaped, and remember that exams are a measure of your knowledge via basically a memory test. Some people just don’t work well under that pressure, so even if you don't do as well as you'd hoped it doesn't mean anything about your overall intelligence.
There’s also much more to life than exams. Not doing well at them doesn't mean you won't go on to succeed - check out this list of celebs who never went to university for proof.
17. Speak to someone
If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to someone close to you and talk about it. Feeling stressed about exams is the most natural feeling in the world, and they will probably have some great advice and be able put everything in perspective.
If you don’t feel like you have a close relative or friend you can talk to, you can call Supportline on 01708 765200 - a confidential counselling helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issues. If you’re under 25 you can also call The Mix’s free helpline on 0808 808 4994 or speak to their trained helpline supporters on their one-to-one chat service.
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