Getting through the exam period is a challenging time for many students and it can often feel like you don’t have time for yourself or your health and fitness. But taking a break from the books and making time to incorporate healthy habits will not only boost your wellbeing but can also help you get the most out of your revision sessions.
Here we have put together some top tips to help you beat exam stress, stay healthy, and even improve your exam performance.
You may think exercise is not a priority during exam time, but making time for physical activity, especially outdoors, can actually boost your revision sessions and your health during this stressful period.
Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s "happy" hormone, which will improve your mood and help to reduce your stress. Studies have also indicated that exercise can help improve concentration and mental acuity, so don’t feel guilty about taking a break for a workout, even if it’s just a walk outside for some fresh air.
UK charity Young Minds recommends eating a balanced diet during exam times to keep yourself in optimum health and filling up on brain foods to provide your body and mind with the energy and concentration needed to get through revision sessions.
Include plenty of iron-rich leafy green vegetables such as spinach to give your body a natural energy boost, and complex carbs such as sweet potatoes for slow-release energy to help sustain you through exams and revision sessions. Get plenty of fruits, especially summer berries, to help with concentration levels, and top up your levels of omega-3 with oily fish such as salmon to keep your brain functioning at its best through the exam period.
Energy drinks might sound like exactly what you need for a boost but their sugar and caffeine can be detrimental to both health and concentration. Limit coffee and tea and drink plenty of water for optimum hydration and focus, with studies even finding a link between students who drink water in exams and higher grades.
Take regular breaks
Don’t keep slogging through your revision thinking you’ll learn and remember more, a break will actually help your brain process, organise and remember everything you have just revised.
Take a break every 45 to 60 minutes and try and do something relaxing, such as reading a book or going for a short walk. Taking your mind off your work will help you come back to it feeling refreshed.
Get enough sleep
You might think you’ll learn more by staying up all night and cramming but studies have shown that getting enough sleep can actually help you perform better by helping to improve your memory. So shut those books, take a break, and aim for around seven hours a night to wake up feeling rested and refreshed to get the most out of your revision session.
By paying attention to the present moment exactly as it is you can help improve your concentration when revising, feel calmer and more peaceful, and reduce exam stress. Try some mindfulness exercises, meditation or a style of yoga such as Kundalini which will help to focus your breathe and your mind.