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Is exam stress affecting your mental health?

Are your exams about to start? GCSEs, A-levels, university exams, professional exams.. no matter what the exam is, it is normal and understandable to feel worried about it. However, sometimes this exam worry and stress can get a little much because of pressures surrounding the exams-fear of failing, how the results may affect your future, expectations and pressure from your family, the need to perform perfectly. All these pressures can increase your anxiety levels which in turn can affect your mental health.

So how do you know if your exam stress is affecting you and what can you do about it?

Is there a change in your eating and sleep habits? Changes in mood and your skin? Started self-destructive behaviours? Feeling panicky about the exams? These are all signs of increased anxiety and stress levels.

Here are 10 helpful tips if the exam stress is affecting your mental health:

#1 - Share how you are feeling to your family and/or friends as they can support and encourage you through this time.

#2 - Seek help from your tutor, teacher, supervisor if you are having any concerns-they can help and advise you.

#3 - Make a daily timetable for your revision which includes regular breaks and realistic revision targets. Try the forest app; this app can help you focus on your revision and helps to keep you away from your distracting phone.

#4 - Do some mindfulness, relaxation and breathing exercises if you are feeling anxious and stressed – Google is great for these.

#5 - Try not to compare yourself to your friends or your peers. Everyone works and revises differently and what may work for someone else may not work for you.

#6 - Allow yourself time to unwind, relax and do something that you enjoy. Revising 24/7 does not mean you will do better. Giving yourself time for self-care will help you to revise more productively and help your mood.

#7 - Eat healthily and well, make proper meals and start the day with a good breakfast, particularly on an exam day. The rights foods will maintain your energy levels, your focus and concentration. Likewise keeping hydrated is important as being dehydrated can result in feeling tired and struggling to concentrate.

#8 - Sleep can get affected when feeling stressed but try to keep good hygiene and go to bed early. Sleep helps you to concentrate better the next day.

#9 - Keep physically active as this has a positive impact on your well-being; include a run, walk or other activity into your break timetable.

#10 - Be kind to yourself, listen to your body for what it needs (break, food, rest etc) and remind yourself that this period of exams will pass and that you CAN do it.

If the exams stress is affecting your mental health, you do not need to suffer alone. Talk to someone you can trust and share how you are feeling. Get professional support. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and courage!

For further help and coping strategies, please click here to arrange an initial FREE 15-minute telephone call with me. We can even spread your session payments.


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