Exam season = stress. Depending on how you react, this could mean sleepless nights, constant tiredness, anxiety attacks, poor appetite, emotional eating, headaches and negative mindsets.
Here are my top tips to help you cope with stress around this time of year.
– Brain food: A balanced diet is the key to optimal brain functioning. 60% of your brain is fat, so be sure to fuel it correctly with plenty of Omega 3’s, such as avocado, salmon, nuts, flax seeds and chia seeds.
– Protein contains amino acids, which are vital for brain functioning. Some of the best sources include meat, chicken, fish, lentils, beans, quinoa, oats, nuts and chickpeas.
– Carbohydrates give you energy. Ideally go for wholegrains, pulses, fruit and vegetables – there’s a reason marathon-runners are known to have a pre-race banana!
– Vitamins and minerals are crucial, particularly iron, vitamin B and zinc for preventing tiredness. Try incorporating all of these into a smoothie using my Guide to the Perfect Smoothie!
– In addition, I probably don’t need to remind you that too much sugar and processed foods cause energy spikes followed by crashes, so moderation is key.
The average human body is made up of well over 50% water, the brain being about 85% water! It is obvious that dehydration will severely impact your ability to focus.
I start the day by drinking 1 litre of water, and carry a bottle of water with me to sip on throughout the day, which I like to infuse with slices of lemon and cucumber for a refreshing taste. I also drink plenty of green tea and peppermint tea, but avoid coffee as too much caffeine can make me feel jittery.
When you’re busy and stressed, it’s understandable that you might not want to exercise, but physical activity releases dopamine (the happy hormone) which boosts your mood and fights against stress and even depression. Exercise is great for clearing your head which in turn, will help you concentrate. Finally, a good night’s sleep is almost guaranteed after a tough workout – time to go and work up a sweat!
You can’t spend the entire month of exam season locked away in your room studying! Plan your breaks and give yourself some time off and enjoy life! Having that balance makes a real difference to your wellbeing and stops you feeling depressed and isolated. Why not combine revision with socialising? You could form study groups where you can share notes and motivate each other!
Keep things in perspective and stay positive – it is possible to survive exams and there is life after exams – just think how great summer is going to be!