This guide helps you understand how to cope with feeling a bit stressed out with the pressures of exams, work or home. We give some helpful tips for how to cope with stress, how to relax and how to make sure you get a good night sleep, believe us, everything really will look much better in the morning.
Signs you might be stressed
For most people your exams at school will probably be the first time you feel a bit stressed out. It is perfectly natural to feel anxious; there aren't many who haven’t felt butterflies in their tummy as exam time approaches. It is good to learn the warning signs of stress and find the best ways to cope with it.
" Stress can affect your skin, causing break-outs and rashes "
- Aching muscles and general tiredness. You may find it harder than usual to get up in the morning and to get into the right mindset for learning and you might also be waking up in the night or finding it hard to drift off. Read our tips for sleeping under exam stress.
- Getting irritated or upset easily. You may take your emotions out on your family or friends, or burst into tears at the slightest thing.
- Feeling ill or getting a cold. Your immune system can be less effective when you are stressed and you may find yourself getting ill more often – the last thing you need!
- Getting itchy skin, rashes or break-outs. Stress can visibly affect your skin causing your skin to break out in spots or making your eczema flare up. Try to look after your skin with gentle organic skin care products to calm and re-balance your skin.
Coping with exam stress
Stress is a perfectly natural reaction to the pressure of exams. A little stress is okay and can even help you achieve better results, but too much can affect your health and contribute to bad skin. Getting overly stressed can also mean that you perform less effectively in exams – which is not ideal.
So how do you try and keep the stress levels down when exams are looming?
- Cut out the caffeine. Whilst drinking tea, coffee or coke can perk you up, it can also make it difficult to concentrate. It will also mean that you’ll have a harder time getting to sleep.
- Eat healthily during your weeks of revision and remember those Omega oils which will help your brain perform better, especially Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and Flax oil Read more about Omega oils and the foods they are found in.
- Start revising weeks in advance. You may not feel like it, but half an hour here and there will leave you time to relax between revision sessions without feeling guilty.
- Take regular breaks. Reading text books for hours on end isn't the best way for most of us to learn, so take breaks as often as you need them – 5 minutes every half hour should be about right
- Doing some exercise is a great way to push your worries out of you mind and refocus. If you don’t want to stop revising altogether whilst you exercise, record the key points and put them on your iPod
- Get lots of sleep. A really good night's sleep helps you to think more clearly and will also help to store the information you have been revising
Can't sleep from exam stress?
Exam time is stressful for everyone and it can be a nightmare trying to get to sleep when you've got a big exam the next day.
Here are our tips for having a really relaxing evening and a refreshing sleep to get you feeling your best for whatever you've got the face the next day:
- Eat a nice, healthy dinner early on, ideally containing Omega-3 fatty acids, for extra brain food. By eating early, you will give your body time to finish digestion so you won’t feel uncomfortable when you're trying to sleep
- Get everything ready for the morning and put your text books and notes out of sight. Stop the last minute revision. Just let it go. It's pointless trying to cram and will only stress you out more
- Say good luck to all your friends then turn your mobile and computer off. There is nothing like other people panicking to make you feel really nervous
- Have a nice hot bath about two hours before you want to fall asleep, . Relax and try to slow down from the day. Don’t have a shower though, as that will wake you up rather than relax you
- Make yourself a cup of calming Chamomile herbal tea with soothing honey as the last thing you want is caffeine to keep you awake and take it up to bed with you and put on some of your favourite calming music
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