With January exams looming, nerves are bound to set in and it’s easy for stress levels to spiral.
Although a little bit of stress in the lead up to exams can help (boost your motivation to put in those extra revision shifts) you need to be wary that it doesn’t negatively impact your performance or stop you from focusing.
When your body becomes stressed it releases adrenaline which can be great for initially getting going, but if this happens over a long length of time it starts to not be as helpful. That’s when the sleepless nights and worries begin to creep in, leaving you exhausted and feeling overwhelmed.
So before it gets out of control, here are 4 little changes you can make to help calm your stress, and get you in the best mindset for exam time.
Meditate for 10 minutes a day
Apps like Headspace and Calm are some of the top recommended wellbeing apps for a reason. Thousands of people swear by their bite-sized guided meditations for coping with stress, anxiety and living a more mindful life, whilst maintaining a busy schedule at the same time.
Meditating for even 10 minutes a day, is proven to make a real difference to your overall wellbeing, so pencil in some time to get a bit zen.
Test out which time of the day works for you; some love getting some headspace first thing in the morning after they’ve woken up, whereas others like to wind down with a meditation session just before bed. There are different benefits to meditating at different times of the day, but above all, making the time to slot it into your schedule is the first step.
Start a bullet journal
It won’t come as a surprise that getting organised is a big part of calming your stress and worries when it comes to exam season. But let’s face it, it’s not fun, and can feel like a chore in itself.
That’s where bullet journaling comes in. A bullet journal is a fun and creative way to keep organised and stay up to date with your revision timetable or workload. In other words, to-do lists become inspiring, instead of mind-numbing.
Not sure how to get started? Check out ‘The Bullet Journal Method: Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future’ by Ryder Carrol.
Amazon reviewer, Gwen, describes her experience bullet journaling after reading the method: “I have been doing for about five days and it already has made me feel less overwhelmed, clearer about what I need to be doing and when. It also has relieved my stress and anxiety that I will forget something important.”
Sounds pretty great if you ask us.
Spend time with some canine friends
Here’s a question for you… what relieves stress better than a playful pup?
Probably nothing, that’s what.
According to research, playing with dogs reduces stress by up to a third. Why? Animals have the natural ability to impact the primary stress response system in us humans. So it’s no surprise that studies have found that people become more trusting and relaxed after interacting with a canine friend.
When the exam stress takes over, and the puggle is real (sorry, we couldn’t resist), it’s time to seek out your local animals.
Join a regular sausage dog meet upin Dublin, or get in touch with your university to see if they’re holding any puppy days.
Trinity College Dublin first introduced its Puppy Room during exam season in 2014 and allowed students to spend 15 minutes cuddling some canines before heading back to the library.
Disclaimer: In case you were confused, we’d like to remind students that the puppy will not actually do your exams for you.
Go for a walk for 20-30 minutes a few times a week
A new study in Frontiers in Psychologyhas recently revealed that taking at least 20 minutes out of your day to go for a walk or sit in a place where you feel connected to nature, will significantly lower your stress hormones.
The lead author of the research, and wellbeing whiz, Dr MaryCarol Hunter, explained, “We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,”.
Luckily for Uninest students, it’s now clear; “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of… lowering levels of the stress hormone, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature”.
Boost your mood by getting outside and exploring Ireland’s local greenery. Head to Phoenix Park, Dublin’s biggest green space with plenty to explore, or visit Cork’s national park, Gougane Barra Park, for spectacular natural beauty.
Feeling less stressed already? We thought so.
Health and wellbeing are at the heart of living with us at Uninest. We always try and help our students to thrive during their stay and beyond.
Want to learn about how we promote wellbeing with Uninest students?Find out now.