Your exam period is posibly one of the most stressful periods ever in your entire student life. All the years of your hard work culminating in just a few hours of testing. Regardless, once the paper is over, you have to accept that you’ve done your best, and that you no longer have any immediate control over the outcome.
The next best thing to do, before returning to revision for your next paper is to destress and relax. Here are some fun suggestions on how to do exactly that.Exam period is a stressful time, here are ways to de-stress and cope under intense pressure during #exam Click To Tweet
1. Dance – put on music and dance
Rock, pop, funk …whatever hits the sweet spot, put it on (loud) and dance it out. Just like Meredith and Yang in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Pump in up and dance it out.
2. Get active – run, gym, swim
Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress. Even if it is not something you regularly do, getting active is a great way to shift your focus on a different activity apart from revision. If the weather is good, a quick run or a brisk walk in a park will offer a change of scenery. If you prefer, the gym or the swimming pool are also great places to work out while tuning out and relaxing your mind.
3. Escape for a while – watch a movie, re-read your favourite novel
If exercise sounds like too much hard work, perhaps something that helps you escape for a bit might be the perfect solution. Whether it’s your favourite movie, or a couple of episodes of your favourite comedy series or even a couple of chapters of your favourite novel, all of them will offer a sense of familiarity and security. Most importantly, they offer a familiar ‘place’ to escape to.
4. Mindfulness activity -meditate, walk, focus
The practise of mindfulness – being here and being present – is one of the most effective ways to focus your attention away from past experiences and to stop you dwelling on future possiblities. Bringing you attention right here, to the now helps you focus on just what you can control at this very moment in time.
You can simply focus and pay full attention to whatever you are doing in the present moment, whether it’s walking, or washing dishes or even sitting down and doing nothing. The idea of mindfulness is simply to be present and to focus on this present moment, whaever you are doing. That means not reflecting on an earlier experience nor being distracted by something yet to happen.
Try this 5 minute mindfulness meditation on YouTube
5. Pet-relief – play with your pet, take your dog for a walk
If you have a pet, take some time out for pet-relief. Playing with a pet, whether a dog or cat or any other, has been known to increase serotonin and dopamine levels, which means reduced stress and increase ‘feel good’ feelings.
Taking some time out, to play with your pet, or to take your dog for a walk, not only ensures your pet has a great time and enjoys your attention but there are multiple benefits for you as well – reducing stress, increasing oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin (feel good hormones) and lowering blood pressure.
Those are just some suggestions on how to move your attention and focus away from an exam paper already passed and take some time out for a short burst of self-care. It is important to be able to switch off, to be able to place some thought and focus on something different apart from your all-consuming exams.
Apart from the Do’s above, there are a few very important Don’ts that we would recommend.
Don’t brood over your past exam papers
It’s over. Face forward and move on. If you’re finding it difficult to just focus on what is to come, if you have a niggling feeling that you answered a question wrong, give yourself a fixed about of time to mope. 5 minutes or 10 minutes – set a timer, and brood all you want. Once the alarm goes off, stop and do not think about it any more. Move on and face forward.
2. Don’t discuss answers with your friends
However tempting it is to casually ask ‘oh what did you write for that question?’ Don’t. It serves no purpose. If your friend wrote the same thing as you, great, you may feel good for a little while before furtther self doubt sets it.
If they answered it differently, then you have a whole job trying to convince yourself, that you got it right and they got it wrong, or psyching yourself up to accept that you may have gotten it wrong. Either way there is nothing you can do about it. So just don’t discuss past papers with your friends.
3. Don’t stress about up-coming papers
Yes, there’s more to come. But don’t stress about it. Take it one at a time, do your best one day at a time and slowly but surely. The end of the exam nightmare will end. Focus on just the very next one. Don’t look too far ahead. Slowly but surely one step at a time.
4. Don’t stay up all night revising
The most important thing before an exam is a good night’s sleep. Regardless of how prepared or unprepared you are, getting a solid night’s sleep ensures that you are fresh and ready to tackle whatever you’re facing head on.
No matter how tempting it might be to burn the midnight oil, and cram that little bit more, you are often much much better off having a decent night’s rest.
At the end of the day, it is vital to remember that no matter how stressful or how scary exams are they are in reality only a very small part of the overall journey through life. Exams when you are in school may feel like the be all and end all of your entire schooling career and yes, most teachers and parents view it that way too.
The reality is though, yes, great results help. But they are by no means the only way forward. There are many many options and opportunities for almost anything you wish to accomplish. All you need to do is to focus your heart and your head towards that goal. Doors will open and opportunities will arise.