Here are a few ideas to help you through these last days of term:
How can I de-stress?
Learning how to relax is crucial. Straightforward, effective, self-help techniques are going to be very helpful in the run-up to the exams, and even when you’re sitting in the exam room.
Stress can make you start breathing with quick, shallow breaths and make your heart beat faster than usual. If this happens, sit down somewhere comfortable, if possible. Place one hand on your stomach and check how quickly you are breathing. If it’s one breath every couple of seconds, take a deep breath and start counting steadily. Breathe out slowly and try to get the last of the breath out on about five seconds. To bring down anxiety your out breath should be longer than your in-breath. Carry on doing this until you are doing it naturally and you feel your body and mind relax.
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply
- Locate any areas of tension and try to relax those muscles; imagine the tension disappearing
- Relax each part of the body, from your feet to the top of your head
- As you focus on each part of your body, think of warmth, heaviness and relaxation
- This can also help if you are having trouble falling asleep.
- Consciously slow yourself down so you notice the colours and sounds around you.
- Take time to taste your food – and feel gratitutde for the flavours, the sustenance, the sunshine and rain and farmers and truck drivers and salespeople that brought that particular piece of nourishment to your taste buds.
- Find a friend or pet or family member and hold them in a hug that lasts 30 seconds. When you relax into a good hug you release oxytocin -the feel good brain chemical that helps you relax and smile!
- When you are walking (even walking into your exam) notice your feet as they touch the ground. Feel your body and your connection to the earth with each foot step.
Regular exercise is an excellent way of coping with stress. As little as 10 or 20 minutes a day spent walking, cycling, or at the gym can make a big difference.
and – Eat well. Sleep well – so your brain can function at its best. If you can keep to regular sleep routines even through the crazy study times, it will help you access what you know.
It sounds bizarre, but see if you can have moments of welcoming your stress instead of tensing and being afraid of it – – if you find the sweet spot where it is not swamping you, it can actually energize you and fuel a sense of aliveness!
Here is Kelly McGonigal’s startling Ted-Talk on how to embrace your stress response:
And finally – keep in mind that each assignment, each exam, each task crossed off your list is one baby step towards your bigger goals :
What do you do to keep you when life as a student seems overwhelming?