Exam season! The time that most students dread and mental health can decline. Stress levels and pressures pile up and isolation can set in since classes are done and clubs usually slow down.
We’ve been there, and want to share 7 ways to maintain your mental health this exam season.
1) Sleep Smart
Although it can be extremely tempting to stay up until 3am writing that report or pull all nighters while pounding back coffee and energy drinks, these habits have many negative effects on our bodies, especially our mental health and focus. Odds are you may still need to do this from time to time but try to keep this habit to a minimum. Try to map out a study schedule so you stay ahead of the curve and set an alarm for when you should stop studying to go to bed and stick to it.
2) Eat Smart
Even though ordering in Dominoes every night while studying is probably the easiest option to fuel your body, your body is going to feel more tired and less energetic the more often you do this. In addition try to avoid junk food as snack choices, if you are prone to snacking while stressed try to at least think of more healthy alternatives such as baby carrots or snap peas – food that will fuel your brain to give it more horsepower and stamina to handle the longer, more stressful days. Smoothies are great options for upping your nutrient intake while being easy to make and still tasty.
*Check out the image at the bottom of this post for Brent’s Vanilla Cake Protein Shake recipe.
3) Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally focusing your attention, body and mind in the present moment without judgement. There are numerous studies that practicing mindfulness improves overall well being, especially our mental health. Fortunately, mindfulness meditation is becoming quite popular so you should have no problem finding guided meditation YouTube videos or apps for smartphones. Some of my favourite apps are Headspace, Calm and Aura which has some free guided meditations and soundtracks to help you relax. Also if you have test anxiety, I suggest try doing a quick meditation session before you enter the examination room. I found this has helped me a lot.
4) Set Goals + Treat Yourself
Often times when we get intense studying patterns we forget to take breaks and take some time away from the books to do something you really enjoy. It’s important to set feasible goals for yourself so that when you meet them you feel like you have achieved something you feel like you deserve a break. Whether that be going skiing for day (if you can afford a day), getting dinner with friends or watching a movie on Netflix make your break times a priority.
5) Move Your Body
If you usually have an exercise routine during the regular school year, then try your best to stick to it during the exam season. In addition to helping us stay physically healthy, movement reduces stress, will help improve focus and mood, helps you sleep better and increases blood flow which our brains love.
6) Get Into Nature (or outside at least)
It’s amazing what a couple hours in among trees can do for our stress levels and mood, even if you don’t have the time or the means to get far out in the mountains or depths of the forest. Some examples include going to a local beach, park or even walking around the city if weather permits. If you live around Vancouver and are feeling a bit more adventurous there are numerous hikes that are accessible by transit for all students with U-Passes such as Goat Mountain, Lions Bay Loop, Lynn Peak, Diez Vistas and many more.
More info here: https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/?filter=transit
7) Be in tune with your mind and how are feeling
Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself with how are feeling and how you’re managing your stress levels. It’s important when you feel like you cannot handle everything going on to seek help early. This could mean reaching out to a trusted friend or family member or getting help from a counsellor or psychologist. Try to notice negative thoughts that could build up during this time. There are a couple websites that that can help you keep self check ins.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you’ve found it valuable, please give it a share on your favourite social channel, we’d much appreciate it and make sure to tag Mavrixx Academy so we can thank you!!
*BONUS – Vanilla Cake Protein Shake Recipe
**If you’re into mountains and mental health, click the image to join our MINDvsMOUNTAIN Facebook Community