It’s that time of the year where you will be revising for your exams, here our Wellbeing Team offer some useful tips to help you cope with exam stress …
It is normal to feel a little bit of stress (some level of stress can help you focus), too much of it can lead you to feel out of control and can make it harder for you to take in information. When we feel stressed, the fight or flight response is activated. This may cause fatigue, difficulty in getting up, poor appetite and increased irritability if maintained for long periods of time. Here are some tips to help you cope with stress:
1.) Know how you work
It is important that you deduce where and when you work best. Think about the time of the day that you feel most alert and the place that makes you focus most and where you feel calmest. Perhaps you could alternate your work space to keep revision fresh and to avoid boredom.
Find out when the libraries on campus are open.
2.) Sleep early
Revising late at night can make it very hard for you to get up for the actual exam, not to mention that it isn’t good for your health! Ensure you have done some revision before dinner and stop revising 1 hour before sleep, so that your brain has a chance to switch off.
3.) Don’t compare
Avoid comparing your knowledge with friends before or after the exam. Just because they appear to know more, does not mean that they actually do, or that they will do better in the exam. Comparing will only make you or your friends panic about things you can’t change.
4.) Eat well
A quick fast food fix may look tempting when you are up late revising. However, your body and brain need proper fuel for revision. Eat fresh fruit and veg, swap chocolate snacks for high protein nuts, and try not to consume too much caffeine to ensure good quality sleep.
Read our blog for tips on how to eat well on a budget for some tips.
5.) Reward yourself
Factor revision breaks into your study to rest your brain. Reward yourself with something you enjoy, be it a walk in the sunshine, or 20 minutes of your favourite TV show, or book. It will motivate you to concentrate on your revision.
It can seem like you don’t have the time to exercise when you are revising, but it actually makes you more productive afterwards! It helps you to de-stress and releases feel-good endorphins. Try walking, going to the gym, or going for a jog. Have you tried the University’s sport services?
7.) Recognise stress signals
If you are feeling stressed, take a break and talk to someone. If you feel yourself starting to panic, stop what you’re doing and take deep breaths; breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Do this until you begin to feel calmer.
8.) Exams are just exams (and that’s coming from us!)
Although they can feel immeasurably important, there is more to being successful than your exam performance. Remember that you worked hard and that you can’t change anything after you have sat the exam.
Find out about some useful apps, or helpful resources that can help you reduce stress. Come see a member of our team during our drop-in service – we’ll be more than happy to show you some practical solutions:
- Monday – Friday, 3 – 3.45pm, 50 Park Place
- Wednesday, 9.30 – 10.15am, 50 Park Place
- Wednesday, 1 – 2pm, 2nd floor Cardigan House
You can also attend our Workshops and Drop-in to see us
- Mindfulness for Exam Stress on Wednesday 13 January and Tuesday 19 January – no need to book!
Feeling stressed? Does your brain need a break? Does your mind need soothing? Mindfulness can help mental focus and improve concentration. It can help you find calmness at this busy time and help lower your stress levels. Why not drop-in? No need to book! Wear comfortable loose layered clothing and bring an open mind.
There is no need to book; come along at either 2-3pm or 3:30-4:30pm. The sessions will take in place in room 5.18 in the John Percival Building.
Online support is available 24/7
SilverCloud is an online support service which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s a series of self-help programmes based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which aim to teach you how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact with each other, and how this interaction can lead to psychological distress. Each programme will teach you new coping strategies, help you challenge your negative thoughts and ultimately improve your wellbeing.
Four programmes are available, each focussing on a different problem:
- ‘Space from Depression’ aims to reduce symptoms of depression;
- ‘Space from Anxiety’ helps you cope with worry and anxious thoughts;
- ‘Space from Stress’ focusses on stress;
- ‘Space for Positive Body Image’ helps you deal with the interconnected issues of body image and self-esteem.
- Dealing with Exam Anxieties workshop on Wednesday 6 January 2016
This workshop will teach you effective strategies to gain control over your anxiety, enabling you to concentrate and think clearly when studying for and sitting your exams.
Coping strategies that you learn in this workshop will stand you in good stead in the workplace. Working to deadlines, planning your time and communicating well with others are all skills that many of you will use every day throughout your working life. Gaining control of your anxiety will enable you to develop these skills effectively and thus improve your employability. Click here for more information and to book on to the workshop.
- Relaxation workshop on Friday 8 January 2016
This workshop will introduce you to a number of strategies that can help you relax. Learning to relax and maintain a calm attitude towards the challenges of everyday living is a core self-management skill, and will increase your ability to handle workload demands, and positively manage working relationships in the future.
There will also be a chance to practice some of these strategies during the workshop. Click here for more information and to book on to the workshop.
- Stronger day by day: developing emotional resilience
Emotional resilience is our ability to cope with or adapt to stressful situations or crises. Some people seem better than others at coping with stress, anxiety, and difficult emotions, why is this? The good news is that emotional resilience can be learned. This group will help you to develop increased self-awareness and teach you strategies and skills to boost your emotional resilience. Sometimes when dealing with overwhelming emotions we can develop coping strategies that are not helpful in the long run. This group will give you the opportunity to explore your current coping mechanisms and to develop new healthier ways of handling challenges. This therapeutic group will run over 7 sessions on Tuesday afternoons, starting on Tuesday 2 February 2016 and finishing on Tuesday 15 March 2016. Each session lasts one hour.
A series of sessions to introduce you to a more mindful way of life, for day-to-day living and for stressful situations. Mindfulness can be a way to live life more in the present, thinking less about the past and worrying less about the future. It can help you to live less judgmentally and worry less about the judgement of others. This can have benefits physically and psychologically. It can be about practicing how to be more present and enjoying ‘the moment’, or about learning to reduce stress in your University life through meditation. It can help you right now, and also in the future, giving you valuable skills to carry forward into your working life. Wear comfortable loose layered clothing and bring an open mind. Sessions last for one hour, and you can choose to attend a group at 2-3pm or 3.30-4.30pm.
In February, this group will run over 5 sessions on Wednesday afternoons, starting on Wednesday 3 February 2016 and finishing on Wednesday 2 March 2016. Booking will open in January 2016. Click here for more information and to book on to the sessions.
The Counselling, Health & Wellbeing team are used to dealing with all manner of things. Our team of professionals offer a confidential service that aims to support students. Please contact us in confidence by email, telephone or call in, whichever suits you best.
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.