This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and it falls right in the middle of exam season. Whilst suffering from mental health problems and looking after your mental health are by no means exclusive to exam season, we thought we’d share some tips on how to cope during this particularly stressful time.
Take regular breaks
While it may be tempting to keep on working as much as you can during exam term, it is so important that you remember to take regular breaks from studying. If you’re constantly revising it’s likely you’ll end up feeling physically and emotionally drained. Not only will this affect your mental health, but it will also impact on how well you are able to revise! Use your breaks to sit in the sunshine, see your friends, watch some TV or whatever else de-stresses you.
If you’re able to, try being active. It’s a great way of releasing endorphins and helping you to calm down. We’re not saying you have to do a two-hour workout at the gym everyday, but sometimes just a short walk will make you feel so much better and re-energise you to help you keep going.
Don’t put yourself down!
When somebody asks you ‘how’s your work going?’, try and not go to the usual response of ‘I’m so behind! I’m so stressed!’. Although it’s comforting to know others feel the same, try and focus on the good things you have achieved that day. Every moment you spend revising or working on your essay moves you a little bit closer to the finish line. Make sure you celebrate that!
Use the pomodoro technique
If you’re struggling to study, try the pomodoro technique. This involves studying for 25 mins and then taking a 5 minute break. You can use an online timer such as this one to help you structure your revision, and you can change the length of time you work for and the length of the break you take.
Ask for help
If you’re feeling stressed, keeping it all in is not going to help. Often the best thing to do is to just tell someone how you’re feeling. You may want to tell your parents or caregivers, a close friend, your lecturer or a wellbeing professional. You will likely feel better just having opened up to someone! As well as this, they may be able to share your load and support you in ways they wouldn’t be able to had you not told them.
These tips aren’t exhaustive, and if you are suffering from poor mental health they probably won’t be enough. If you need some support, have a look at our blog post on wellbeing support services on and off campus in case there’s something there that might help you.