We all experience stress at certain times in our life. The adrenaline rush from a stressful situation helps us to focus and motivate us to raise our game when required. Most of us feel anxious about taking exams but we need to recognise when that stress is getting out of hand and get it back under control.
Try to keep things in perspective and if you feel exams are getting on top on you, talk to friends and family, your course tutor or Student Wellbeing (AskHU desk, second floor of the Students’ Union). Don’t struggle alone as there is a confidential support network around you to help you offload your worries.
It’s important to recognise when too much stress is affecting you physically and mentally. First signs are irritability and problems sleeping. You may also experience anxiety, forgetfulness, lethargy, churning stomach, depression, dry mouth, sweating, headaches and shortness of breath. If these feelings persist and anxiety is seriously affecting your ability to revise or function normally, seek medical help from your doctor.
– Take regular breaks (5-10 minutes every hour) away from your revision.
– Moderate exercise will help you to think more clearly and reduce feelings of stress – even a ten minute walk will help.
– Ensure you have time to relax and do things you enjoy. Try yoga or tai chi to help with breathing and relaxation. Slow deep breathing will calm you down when you feel tense.
– Keep away from too much junk food, caffeine and alcohol which all have a negative after-effect
– Try to eat a well balanced diet – especially breakfast (it’s the most important meal of the day!).
– Get enough sleep – aim to have at least seven hours a night. Try to chill out before going to bed so work isn’t the last thing on your mind but don’t worry if you do struggle to sleep.
– Drink plenty of water.
– Find out more about ‘mindfulness’ which helps to focus on the present. More information can be found here
– For more stress relievers, go this NHS page
Although it seems important now, if things don’t go to plan, there are always re-sits or alternative routes to achieve your goal. Keep things in balance and try not to put unnecessary stress onto yourself.
– Prepare as well as you can
– Don’t compare yourself with others
– Take care of yourself
– Don’t bottle up your feelings – offload to a friend or counsellor
By Julie Elliott, Careers Administrator