Even though summer vacation is just around the corner, there are a number of tasks that have to be completed. Exams are one of them. As cliché as it sounds, this is quite a stressful time for students. Final deadlines, many revisions, and so many parties. Feeling overwhelmed has become a personality trait at this point. But there are useful tips and tricks to de-stress that can help anyone feel a bit better about the end of the school year.
“Firstly do not skip breakfast. Coffee alone does not count!”
Many students struggle with their diet, especially during their first year at university. Moving out of your parents’ house is a big transition to adulthood. It is often hard to find the time to prepare a balanced meal, despite it being crucial to a person’s well-being. However, that is a crucial point in improving your memory – an essential part of studying for exams. Here are a few food tips that may help you achieve the best results.
Firstly do not skip breakfast. Coffee alone does not count! Opt for something fresh like fruit. In the morning we all need a mood booster and blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, and strawberries contain a chemical that does the job perfectly. These fruits reduce fatigue and win the battle against stress. Some may experience stomach pains when feeling stressed, and yoghurt is the solution to those problems because of the healthy probiotics it contains. If you want something warm, swap the yoghurt with oatmeal. This way your body gets complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre and keep blood sugar levels stable. And if you are still craving something sweet, chocolate is your best friend, more specifically dark chocolate (70% or higher).
All of this combined will definitely put you in a better mood, give you enough energy to successfully complete all of your tasks, and keep you satisfied until your next meal. You will start the day off with low levels of stress and high levels of motivation – guaranteed!
The Art Of Meditation
Another way of calming your mind and body during exam season is meditation. Now, this does not mean that you have to meditate for hours every day like a monk in order to find balance with your inner self. Five minutes is a sufficient amount of time to boost your mood, calm your mind, and increase your focus. There are also different types of meditation: mindfulness meditation, chocolate meditation, music meditation, bath meditation, walking meditation, and so much more! You have to tune into your needs, try out different techniques, and figure out what feels best and what is the most helpful in your situation. After all, meditation is about the ability to shift your attention on an object, thought, or activity. You can simply meditate for 5 minutes focusing on your breathing, and this will help you sharpen your focus on the work you are doing while leaving behind all of your worries.
A good trick is to do this in between study sessions. When you start feeling overwhelmed, simply close your eyes and focus on the cold stream of air entering through your nose as you inhale, and the warmer stream of air as you exhale. Do this for at least 3 minutes and I guarantee you will feel refreshed afterwards.
The Burden Of Being Productive
Whether you consider yourself a procrastinator or a master of all things related to planning and organisation, exam season brings out the worst in us. People who are usually on top of their schedule feel the need to finish all of their tasks as soon as possible, but those tasks quickly pile up as finals approach. On the other hand, procrastinators stress about their numerous to-dos but still leave them to the last minute. No one seems to win in this situation.
For all the procrastinators one of the best (and simplest) advice there is about productivity is to keep a list. Writing down everything that needs to be completed eases your mind from having to remember dates and assignments, while it is occupied with remembering and understanding course material. A useful trick is writing down 3 main tasks you have to finish in a day. This way you do not feel overwhelmed by too many tasks, and can deal with a manageable number of tasks in your day. If you have finished with those, and find yourself motivated to do more, then go for it!
Another trick is the 15-minute rule. This means that if a task can be completed in 15 minutes or less do not postpone it, rather do it now. Although an assignment cannot be written in 15 minutes (unless you are a genius), there are other things in our to-do list that can keep us off track. An example is doing laundry or washing the dishes. You can also use that time to turn your mind off university related work. You can blast some music or listen to a podcast while doing these small tasks. These underrated things actually make us feel more accomplished and they can inspire you to move on to the next thing on your schedule.
Overall, nothing is a better remedy than having good energy around you – no matter if you are alone or with friends. Spend as much time as you can outside and find time to do the things you love. My hopes are with you and why not try to implement at least one of these techniques? I know I will!
Editor: Aidan O’Reilly