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Exams – Don’t Let the Stress Get to You

Exams – they’re a part of college life. Depending on the class or the area of study, a final “exam” might be an essay or research paper, a multiple-choice test, or some kind of project or performance. But there’s one thing that most students would probably agree is universal for exams: stress.

A Little Stress

A little bit of stress in life in actually a good thing. In the case of final exams, stress causes your mind to focus on passing the exam, because it’s important to your future. Stress causes your body to be awake and alert so that you have the energy you need to get through the important and stressful time.

A Lot of Stress

However, you can have too much of a good thing, and that’s definitely the case with stress. While a little bit of stress can keep you alert and focused, a lot of stress can have the opposite effect: exhaustion, trouble focusing, feeling jittery, feeling sick. So what can you do at exam time to minimize that unhealthy level of stress? Here are four tips:

1. Sleep

Getting extra sleep at exam time seems like an impossibility, right? Well, sleep is important enough to your overall health and to your stress management that you should make sleep a priority, despite your crazy schedule. Turn off the TV an hour earlier, grab a nap in between work and class, do whatever you have to do to make sure that you get adequate and regular sleep. Sleep recharges your energy, helps with mental focus, and even helps you heal.

2. Exercise

This is another thing that you probably think you don’t have time for during exams. But exercise doesn’t have to be an hour or more at the gym every day (although if you can do that – go for it!) Even a short ten minute walk can help relax and rejuvenate both your mind and your body. In between work, family, classes, and studying, take frequent breaks. Get up and stretch, go for a walk around the block, or go outside and play with your kids for twenty minutes.

3. Eat Right

Believe it or not, coffee is not a food group! In all seriousness, during a high-stress time like school exams it’s especially important to feed your body the proper fuel. Try to get a good mix of protein (from nuts or lean meats), fresh veggies, and of course plenty of water. Sugar and carbs (like bagels, donuts, and even fries) can actually sap your strength and make you feel groggy. Check out this post for more details about eating and living healthy while managing school.

4. Study and Prepare

Of course it’s important to prepare for an exam or final project, so that couldn’t get left off the list. Plan out your weekly and even daily calendar so that you have time allotted for proper study and preparation. And don’t forget to schedule in time for food, exercise, and sleep! If you know that you’re as prepared as you can be for an exam, that can really help lower your stress.

And finally, no matter how well you do or don’t do on your exams and final projects, you should still feel proud of yourself if you know you did your best. Test scores, certifications, and degrees are indeed important to your future career – but so is your health and your self-confidence.

Do your best and don’t stress!

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