Six ways to look after your mental health during exams

June 08, 2016
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Exams. The one word that has the ability to send any student into complete and utter panic mode. Unfortunately they’re an unavoidable part of student life, but sometimes they have the ability to cause us a lot more mental stress than usual. It can be easy to get caught up in worrying about exams, so here are some tips to take on board to help you look after mental wellbeing during the exam period.                                                                                  

Practice mindfulness

I’m sure you’ve heard about mindfulness, but you might be thinking what exactly is it? It is the practice of focusing your awareness on the present moment while peacefully recognising and accepting your feelings and thoughts.

Download some apps, try meditating or even listen to some soothing delta waves. Practicing mindfulness is one way to calm your mind and take care of your mental health you’re studying.

Have a regular meal plan

Good eating habits are important for fueling our brains. Start your day with a snap, crackle and pop. Wake up and have a bowl of cereal or some deliciously hipster smashed avo on toast.

Organise what you are going to have for a snack in your study break (my personal favourite is some hummus and celery sticks with a side of carrots). Take care of your body and your mind will thank you.

Get out and about

It’s really important to find time for physical exercise when you’re studying, particularly during exams when all you seem to do is sit at your desk. Exercising is one (scientifically proven) way to improve your mental health. It will help you stay cool, calm and collected, leaving you feeling more energised and refreshed for your studying.

Not a huge fan of exercising? That’s OK. It doesn’t have to be a highly intensive work out. Instead of always using the lift, start taking the stairs more. Finding some time to go to the park with some friends to kick a footy around will help keep you sane.

Use your phone

Contrary to popular opinion, you should use your phone when studying. Smart phones are a valuable resource that you can use to your advantage. There are a whole range of apps available to download that will help you keep your mental game on point.

Breathe2Relax is an app that will help you with stress management by guiding you through breathing exercises. Feeling moody? Having trouble with sleeping? Lantern is an app that will help you with this. This particular app will help you develop cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to assist with stress, mood, sleep and your social life.

Managing anxiety can be difficult, especially during stressful times. SAM (The Self Help for Anxiety Management app) aims to help you manage your anxiety by providing you with a variety of tools to understand why you’re feeling the way you do. Most of these apps are available for both iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded at the App Store.

Get a good night's sleep

I know you really want to stay up and watch another episode of Game of Thrones, but don’t do it. When your body is asleep, it has the chance to rebuild and repair itself from the previous day, allowing you to maximise your productivity for the following day. The longer you are asleep, the longer your mind has to rejuvenate (as long as you’re not overdoing it with too much sleep).  Help your mind by getting a solid eight hours of sleep a night.

Side note: power naps. They are a thing. Try a 30-minute nap during the day if you feel tired and it will do wonders.

Eat dark chocolate and chill out

Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Eat some dark chocolate and hang out on the couch with a cup of tea. Make sure you give your brain some time to unwind and have a break. Don’t over do it.

Happy healthy studying. 

Abigail Dawson

Abigail is a third year journalism student that has a love affair with food and traveling. She enjoys long walks to her computer where she writes a few lifestyle pieces.

Image: Lillie Kate, Flickr Creative Commons license

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