9 Ways to Keep Calm and Carry on During Exam Time

As April approaches, many of us will experience various forms of stress with exams, moving, job searching, and many other things happening all at once. To help combat the stresses that come with this hectic time of year, give this list a read, and think of personal ways for relieving stress and increasing positivity in your life during exam period!

1.      Get enough sleep

This is a cornerstone for keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy, especially during stressful times in the year. When you go to bed, turn off all electronics to avoid distractions and to ensure you get the deep sleep you need. Also before you go to bed, do something relaxing to wind down from the busy day. Listen to calming music, read, write in a journal, or whatever else helps you relax!

2.      Sneak positive messages into your life

Find some favourite motivational quotes (check out the AMS Pinterest for examples!), and write them out on colourful sticky notes. Place the notes all over your room, house, and/or floor to remind you to think positively throughout the day. Key places are mirrors, desks, bedside tables, doors, and even water bottle, wallet, and agenda. As you go about your day, you’ll be reminded to stay positive!

3.      Eat healthy and snack often

Regardless of how busy your schedule gets, keep healthy eating a priority! Drink lots of water and keep healthy snacks on hand wherever you go. If you’re heading to the library for the day, pack fruit, veggies, hummus, pita, or other healthy finger foods so you can avoid the temptation of sugar-packed vending machine snacks.

4.      Listen to inspirational, calming music

If you like to listen to music while studying, try an instrumental 8tracks playlist! Music helps a lot of people focus while studying, and the right playlist can help ease the anxiety you might be feeling during exam period. Here’s a suggestion to get you started.

5.      Work towards study breaks

Study in manageable chunks and give yourself breaks periodically so you can stretch, eat, and take some time away from the books. Take a couple short breaks each hour, and every few hours, give yourself a longer break to go for a walk, watch (one!) episode of a TV show, etc. Taking small study breaks contributes to higher productivity and alertness, so be sure to take time away from the desk once in awhile!

6.      Schedule social time into your day

Studying for days on end can often cause us to spend a lot more alone time than usual. And while alone time has its advantages, don’t forget to block in some social time each day! Find times in your day when you can be with other people and talk about non-academic topics. Mealtimes are a great social opportunity, as are walks to and from campus, and nighttime after you finish studying.

7.      Keep a journal

A lot of thoughts go through our minds in a day, and sometimes it’s a lot to think about! At the end of the day, try taking some quiet time to reflect and write down the good, the bad, the questions, the ideas, and anything else you want to remember or let go. You’ll feel a sense of relief when all those thoughts are out, and you might be able to better understand and appreciate your thoughts when you have time to reflect.

8.      Celebrate accomplishments

When you hand in an assignment or finish writing an exam, celebrate your success! Get a favourite treat from CoGro or the Tea Room, play a round of video games, Skype a friend, or do whatever you enjoy doing to celebrate your accomplishments. You succeeded, so show yourself some appreciation for the hard work!

9.  Keep things in perspective

Remind yourself that exams are not a direct or singular reflection of your worth as a person. Try your best and study thoroughly, but know that there is so much more about you than your grades! If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, reach out to a friend, a counsellor, the Peer Support Centre, or any other person or service that can support and encourage you when the going gets tough. You’re never alone!

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