Take Control of Exam Stress by Prioritising!
How Perspective and Prioritising Can Help to Manage Exam Stress
It is that time of year when exams are at full peak. For various different reasons, this is a time of high stress, for both students and parents. These exams can determine the next stage of someone's future. Students often make themselves very worried, losing sleep, not eating properly, which can result in ill health. Having been through it as both a student and a professional there are various ways of managing this stress. The stress often falls into the following areas; however, this is not exhaustive. Stress around these areas can be managed in the following ways:
Students should always remember who they are taking exams for and it does not matter what people think. It is first important to worry about actually getting on the train and making the journey and worrying about the destination later. Stress can be managed in the steps by first taking strategies to actually get through the exam and then worry about the future later, as there are many ways in which the future could turn out.
Socialising is still important and positive. It is also a good idea to try and keep up with hobbies and leisure activities as much as possible. However, it is worth being selective, especially when it comes to choosing whom to hang around with. If somebody is worried about exams already and what people think, careful consideration needs to be taken around who people socialise with. It is more beneficial to socialise with people who are going to be supportive and to lift spirits. If students are in a circle of friends who are excessively competitive and put them down thus add to stress this is not a positive experience during exams or at any time. Tied into this is social media. A separate article could be written on this topic alone as there are various positive and negative arguments around social media at exam time. Social media is often a platform for comparison shopping, people often make out their lives are better than they actually are. This is a time to consider deactivating accounts at least during exam time. It is not fruitful to spend all the exam time studying. It is beneficial to also take time to continue with hobbies. For example, just strumming chords on a Guitar can leave students more refreshed when they come back to studying. Hobbies or a social life should not be completely abandoned during exam time, otherwise the brain can be overloaded with nothing but facts and figures.
Diet and Exercise
This can be neglected during exam time. It is not a good idea to start new exercise regimes during this time; however, keeping up with some exercise such as going for a walk can be very refreshing rather than being cooped up indoors in front of a desk all the time. Many teenagers nowadays are getting very obsessed with their bodies and wanting to be a size zero. This is a time when students should err on the side of caution when it comes to going on restrictive diets. Dieting or starving oneself and not eating properly are factors that contribute to brain activity. During this time that the brain needs fuel, not eating properly and going on faddy diets is something that can hinder performance. Again with priorities and perspective at this present point in time, being a size zero should not be top of the list of priorities. As well as physical exercise, it is worth taking some time to look after emotional and spiritual health. Yoga, meditation and hypnotherapy can be very beneficial and there are numerous resources on YouTube that are very easy to use. These however should not be a substitute for medical advice. If the stress levels are seriously impacting on health then medical advice needs to be sought. This is where schools can be a support as they can arrange counselling.
After comparing my days as a student when I was younger to when I went back into education again as a mature student I definitely feel the difference. Education and studying can be very enjoyable. However, when the focus is placed too much on passing exams and worrying about the future, this is when the enjoyment goes out of it. Based on personal experience better results can be attained when there is enjoyment of the subjects that are being studied and there are ways of making studying fun.
Worry about this later on, not now. If somehow results are not as expected or as desired there are various other options in life. As for what people think, students need to consider the actual significance of the people in their lives. True friends or family members will not judge somebody by the results they have in their exam.
The main questions students should ask themselves during exams times is: who are they doing this for? What is the outcome they want after all this? It is also worth keeping in mind that this whole journey can be a very fun part of life to look back on in years to come. It is not always about the final destination enjoy the journey as well.