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Top ways to destress between exams

By StudentLiving 08 Jan 2024

Keep calm, study on

It's exam season which can obviously mean your stress levels are higher than normal... but fret not! There are plenty of ways to destress before, between and after exams. Here are our top picks:

Ways to destress

  1. Physical Activity: Exercise is a proven stress reliever. It doesn’t have to be intense; even a short walk around campus or a gentle yoga session can significantly lower stress levels. Physical activity helps release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
  2. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like mindfulness and meditation can be particularly effective in managing stress. They help bring your focus to the present moment, reducing anxiety and improving concentration. Even a few minutes of meditation can make a big difference. The Mindfulness app is a great free way to help you achieve this.
  3. Adequate Sleep: Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep, especially during exams! Lack of sleep can increase stress and negatively impact memory and cognitive function. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and generally don't overwork yourself as your time off is just as important as your time on.
  4. Healthy Eating: A balanced diet plays a crucial role in managing stress. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish the brain and combat stress. As much as a coffee or tea can help, excessive caffeine and sugar, can increase anxiety! For more information on how the right diet can benefit you, check out the resources from our Eat Well campaign.
  5. Social Support: Talking to friends, family, or even classmates can be a great way to relieve stress. Social interactions can provide a fresh perspective, emotional support, and a much-needed distraction from studies. 
  6. Time Management: Efficient time management can reduce exam stress. Create a study schedule that includes breaks. Regular short breaks for relaxation or a change of scenery can improve both focus and productivity.
  7. Hobbies and Relaxation Techniques: Engage in activities you enjoy, whether it's reading, painting, playing a musical instrument, or simply listening to music (we'd recommend LoFi Girl on YouTube as great tunes to work to). Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation can also be beneficial. 
  8. Seeking Professional Help: If stress becomes unmanageable, don't hesitate to seek professional help. We offer counselling services which you can make the most of whenever you need it. 
  9. Limiting Screen Time: Excessive use of electronic devices, especially before bed, can increase stress and disrupt sleep. Set limits on screen time, particularly on social media, which can be a source of stress. Or stick on a podcast or read a book before bed.
  10. Nature Exposure: Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on the mind. Whether it's a park, a garden, or a quiet spot on campus, connecting with nature can offer a sense of peace and relaxation.

Remember, it's normal to feel some stress around exam time, but it's important to manage it effectively to maintain both your mental and physical health. Each student is different, so it's essential to find what works best for you!

Check out our exam toolkit for ways you can destress or prevent stress in the first place.


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