Exam time is a major source of stress for teenagers. Even for the most committed and well prepared students exam time still conjures up feelings of uneasiness and doubt. It’s a natural reaction. How well they can cope with this stress will impact their results so it’s crucial to support them.
Encouraging them to have healthy study habits throughout their schooling is always the best option. Providing guidance and support, listening to them without judgement, and teaching them how to reduce stress are ideal options.
Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress. High intensity exercise will produce a release of endorphins that will instantly lift their mood. Low intensity exercise such as walking and yoga will also produce positive results and help them to concentrate and control stress and anxiety.
Meditation, mindfulness and breathing strategies are also proven ways to reduce stress. Finding the right balance for each student will help to maximise their wellbeing and study.
Time management is so important when studying for exams. Often exercise and relaxation are pushed to the side in an effort to get extra study time. As the exercise goes down the stress goes up! Snacking whilst studying can also pose a problem for students, and regular exercise can help balance appetite. Exercise also helps to balance sleep habits.
Everyone is different, some will adapt to morning study habits quickly and effectively, whilst the night owls may struggle and prefer to stay up late. Maintaining an effective and balanced schedule for study provides the best results. Schedule study time, exercise, relaxation and sleep. Make sure they are taking regular breaks, and get outside when possible. Go for a walk with them, encourage them to spend some active time with siblings or friends, play with dog and have a good laugh. Lighten the mood and provide a pressure release from the endless hours of study.
Nutrition also plays a major role in how well the brain functions so focus on healthy food options and wholesome snacks. Don’t be tempted by sugar, chocolate and energy drinks, as they will provide a short term hit of energy which results in a big drop soon after. Have healthy snacks available, fresh fruit, natural popcorn, yogurt and nuts are all great options.
Healthy habits for wellbeing are consistent for all ages. These include regular exercise, healthy food, hydration, sleep and paying attention to your mental health. When we are under increased stress it’s hard to maintain our good habits, but it is during these times that it is crucial to stay focused on a balanced lifestyle.