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How To Take Care Of Yourself During Exam Season

Finals are here again and students are freaking out. During this time, many of us neglect ourselves in the name of a passing grade. Not only that, many suffer from test stress and anxiety brought upon by too heavy a workload and absorbing all of the information possible about something they don’t really care about. If this is you, here are some self-care tips to get you through:

  • Make lists: It’s a very trying time and the amount of things going in and out of your brain can be overwhelming. Write down the important stuff. 
  • Get a study group: keeping a group of friends or classmates in a similar situation can help out a great deal. They can be a support system for when you have a breakdown or help you out with the things you don’t understand.
  • DO NOT CRAM(!!!!!): This might be the single most important thing on this list. Just don’t do it. Cramming actually causes students to do worse on exams because the brain is overworked and tired… it needs rest after hours of strenuous activity. The exhaustion actually “increases feelings of anxiety, frustration, fatigue and even confusion”. Instead, schedule short periods of studying across a couple of days.
  • Put yourself first: Pressure from family and friends can put additional stress on your shoulders – brush it off. No one knows what you’re capable of but you.
  • Take breaks: Breaks in-between studying can be essential as it keeps your mind from straying and you feel refreshed whenever you come back. According to St. Andrews, study sessions should be separated by five to ten minute breaks.
  • Don’t binge eat junk food: In the words of Tom Haverford and Donna, “treat yo self”. But don’t go overboard. Regular rewards after a milestone are recommended but do you really need a whole tub of ice cream and a family size bag of chips? Not only do you feel lazy and tired after but too much refined sugar, and processed foods in general, are positively correlated with impaired brain function and worsening of mood disorders such as depression.
  • Stay positive: Believe in your abilities. No matter what happens, you’ve gotten this far and you’ll make it through.

No one person on this planet has it all together, most are just good at hiding the fact that they’re freaking out too. Just do your best and stop striving for perfection because it doesn’t exist. The most important thing is to never put grades over your well-being. Great mental health will better translate into excellence on any exam and you will feel better afterwards. Good luck!

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