Top 7 Practices for Stress Relief During Exam Season

Finding stress relief during exam season is an important part of being a student. We all know how difficult it can be to navigate student life, especially during the run-up to exam season, where you need to balance your studies and social life alongside revision for your upcoming exams.

They always play an important part in the academic year as a whole, and whether you are looking at getting a job straight out of university or you want to put exams to bed and plan the specifics of your future career at a later date, you want to succeed at your exams regardless.

This is a guide to help you find the best practices to relieve stress during exam season to make the difficult season a little less difficult.

Person very stressed about exams

What is exam stress?

In the run-up to exams and during the exam season itself, it is normal for students to feel stress. You can feel anxiety and worry that you are not good enough, that you haven’t done enough revision or work to get the results that you are looking for.

Exam stress can result in you not sleeping well or for long enough, not eating the right foods or not getting outside enough and taking breaks from your work.

If you let exam stress get out of hand, your mental health can suffer. Remember, even if this is the case, you are not alone. There is great mental health support charities and support organisations to help you whenever you need them.

Girl stressed about exams writing

Practices for stress relief during exams

Every person is different, and you might find that some things on the list below work for you whilst others don’t. That’s ok. We all have different things that are effective in helping us to relax, and it is important to give yourself the time and grace to find out what works best for you. Here are some techniques that you should consider:

1. Keep things in perspective

It might be something you hear a lot, but there is good reason for this because it is true.

Exams are not the be-all and end-all. You want to do as well as you can in them for sure but try to look at the bigger picture.

When it comes to a future career, prospective employers will look at your exam results and degree classification, but they will also look at the rest of your life experience, transferable skills, and other experiences and characteristics that make you a good choice for a job.

Girl looking outside the window and thinking

2. Get organised as early as you can

You should look at your exams in the same way as you do upcoming coursework.

That way, you can plan ahead accordingly and get as organised as you can, as early as possible.

You have a set date to plan towards, where you can lay out your revision calendar and know exactly what you should know and by when.

This helps to alleviate some stress, as you have clear signposts to work towards and can break things down into manageable, bite-sized chunks of revision.

Girl organising her schedule

3. Have a good sleep pattern

We all function better if we are getting around 8 hours of sleep a night. It is important that you look after your mind and body, and one of the best ways to do this is by implementing a consistent sleep plan.

This means sticking to a bedtime routine, where you go to sleep at around the same time every night (with exceptions for some social occasions of course) and take time to unwind and turn off your devices before sleep.

Girl sleeping

4. Eat well and exercise

Along with a good sleep pattern, it is important that you maintain good habits in terms of eating well and exercising.

Take the time out of your revision schedule every day to get out into the fresh air. This could be a half-hour walk around the block or something more strenuous that gets the blood pumping.

You also need to eat well, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, as well as stay hydrated to keep your mind and body fresh and focused.

Girl exercising as a stress relief technique for exam

5. Try meditation

Meditation helps you to take a step away from whatever stresses you are feeling and to focus on yourself for a few moments.

It can make a massive difference to both your physical and mental well-being, helping you to learn breathing techniques, how to focus on each part of your body and mind, and how to release bad thoughts.

It only takes 10 minutes of your day to take part in guided meditation (you can use meditation apps such as Headspace for this).

Person meditating for stress relief from exam

6. Speak to family and friends

If you are struggling with exam stress, don’t be afraid to speak to your friends and family about how you are feeling.

It is much harder to go through a stressful situation alone and can harm your mental health in the long term.

Know that there is help out there for you and that your university friends are facing a similar situation, if not the same, so you can talk through your worries and vent your frustrations rather than bottling them up.

Two women hugging

7. Build good habits

Creating good habits should begin from day one of university and carry you through all your day-to-day studies, coursework, and into exam season.

Automatically knowing what and how to do certain things will take some stress away. Good habits include taking regular, set breaks, staying hydrated, eating well, as well as thinking about where you work best and when.

It might be that when you feel productive you go to work in the library, or you might be better at your desk in your room. Find what works for you and stick to it.

Girl writing down something on book

It is really important that you look after your mental and physical health at all times, but it is especially important to find the right techniques to help with stress relief during exam season.

Whether you look towards meditation, getting outside for some fresh air and physical activities, or you just put more effort into creating the perfect student room design that provides you with a dedicated exam revision space but also somewhere to relax and recharge your batteries , we hope that you find some of these strategies helpful.

Follow us on Instagram @essentialstudentliving let us know what you do to unwind and to alleviate the stress around exam season.

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