With exams times approaching, hard work and stress are inevitable. However, this needs to be balanced with self care. Everyone is different, so there is unfortunately no one good solution for tackling exam stress. However, here are some reminders that will hopefully help your study sessions and exam preparation go smoothly.
No matter how busy you may be, it is important to get outside at least once a day. This could be going to a cafe to study, or simply walking around the block. Especially with the cold weather, it becomes very tempting to stay inside curled under blankets with a hot cup of tea. While this is not a bad thing, it can make us feel lethargic, making it harder to find the motivation to study. The combination of some fresh air and a bit of exercise helps us to be more productive.
Something I try to do when I know I’m going to have to be studying all day is instead of eating while I study, I will use food as an excuse for a break. When we have a lot to do, it becomes easy to feel like we don’t have time for breaks, and instead power through until we’re finished. Take twenty minutes to prepare a healthy, filling meal and don’t think about your notes while eating. This way, once you’re done, you’ll feel like you’ve actually had a break. If you feel that you don’t have time to prepare food, then do something quick and easy like heating up soup.
On the topic of breaks, make sure you take them! While this may seem like study time you’re wasting, on the contrary, it makes the time you are studying more valuable. During your break, if you can, leave the space you’re studying in. This will give you the feeling that you have had a proper break. This being said, it is important to not get distracted, extending your break longer than you intended. The best thing to do to stop this from happening is to set a timer, and commit to returning to your work once the timer is up. Taking a short break every hour is what I find to work the best for myself.
Finally, something I believe you should have with you while you’re studying is something to drink. Whether it be water, coffee, tea, or juice, hydration is extremely important to keep you alert. This being said, I would avoid energy drinks, as tempting as they are. Yes, they will spike your energy, but you’re going to have the crash later, which will ultimately slow you down.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is to give yourself permission to take care of yourself. This can be easy to forget in the frenzy of exam season, when you feel that your to-do list is neverending. Yes, maintaining your grades and getting assignments finished is important, but looking after yourself and your well-being always needs to take the front seat. Best of luck to all!