Mental health awareness week (MHAW) 15 – 21 May 2023
Managing stress this exam season
By Sophia Crothall
Exams can often bring stress which can have an impact on both our mental and physical health, which is why it is extra important to take care of yourself, ensuring you’re happy and healthy too. Here are some ways in which you can do that:
As much as you may want to finish your essay in one sitting, or feel the need to complete your exam as soon as possible, you need to take a break. Taking breaks helps to refresh your mind and allows you to come back to your work with a clear head and fresh perspective. So, put your laptop away and get yourself out there. Go for a walk, have something to eat, grab a drink or watch an episode of your favourite TV show. Just make sure you take time away from staring at a screen.
Don’t just rely on ready meals or meal deals over the next few weeks. As they say, ‘healthy body, healthy mind’. Ensure you are having three good meals each day, especially a nutritious breakfast which will set you up for the day. Bring some snacks with you too such as blueberries which are great for the brain. If you have some time, create a meal plan for the week and then you will know each day what you are eating and what you need to prep.
Keep your social life up this exam season. Surrounding yourself with your friends is essential for keeping the morale high. Whether that is seeing them in the evening for a drink at the pub, a daytime coffee or studying together, don’t isolate yourself. You could even impose a rule that you don’t talk about university and exams when you see each other. If you are a part of any clubs and societies that are still running events, push yourself to go to them and see others.
Finally, get yourself out there and get active. Whether you love the gym or hate it, there is some form of exercise for everyone!
One of my favourite things to do is to go on a nice long walk. Bristol has so many open, green spaces which are essential for clearing the mind. Some of my favourites include The Downs, Harbourside, Ashton Court and the Suspension Bridge. If it’s a rainy day, have a look at what B: Active programmes are running at the gym or in halls of residence, these are free for all students.
Remember to take care of yourself this exam season and not let the stress take control.
If you need to speak to someone, a range of support is available such as the Wellbeing team, Student Health Service or even your Personal Tutor.