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Top 7 self-care tips for exam season

Student Life

As second semester is approaching its end, the dreaded exams are slowly creeping up. Are your stress levels rising? Try our top 7 self-care tips to keep your cortisol levels low and your body and mind calm.

1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning

Scientists stand by rehydrating your body immediately after waking up. The list of health benefits is long but most importantly, it’s supposed to kick-start your metabolism and get all the processes inside you flowing. If not anything else, you can feel good about taking care of yourself from the very start of your day! If you’re not really keen on plain water, add a splash of lemon or other fruit for a bit of flavour!

2. Make daily plans and reward yourself for accomplishments

4 assignments, 5 exams and endless pages of notes? Break tasks down! Try to make achievable daily goals for that oh-so-satisfying feeling of ticking things off your list. If you’re working on an essay, set yourself a goal of writing 500 words or 10 paragraphs that day. Alternatively, plan to revise 2 topics from one of your modules and reward yourself for accomplishing each tiny goal at the end of the day. Do you choose your prize - a piece of chocolate, a glass of wine? Whatever makes your soul sing.

3. Have at least one nutritious meal per day

Whether you take the time to make yourself a proper filling breakfast or you prefer to take time for cooking in the evening, make sure to get at least one nutritious meal down you per day. While it’s easy to fall into the routine of buying a sandwich at a cafe for lunch and then solving dinner with a takeaway, this is probably not the healthiest, nor is it the most financially sustainable choice. Ensuring your body has all the nutrients it needs is important for keeping your energy levels high and getting through all that revision.

4. Stretch your body

We won’t blame you if you can’t make yourself go to the gym three times a week during your exams. But keeping you body relaxed is just as important as keeping your mind fresh during revision. Even if you take a 10 minute break in the library to stretch your legs or once you get home pull out a yoga mat and do a couple of downward-facing dogs. You will quickly see how good it feels and ironically, how much more energy you have to get your work done.

5. Get as much sleep as you can

Making a healthy sleeping pattern part of your self-care routine is the best long-term change you can make for your health. If you know you have to get to the library for 9am to get yourself a seat, plan to get to bed by 10pm. A good night’s sleep helps rejuvenate the body and reduces stress by balancing your emotions. If you have trouble falling asleep, talk to your GP about getting some non-addictive sleeping pills for a limited time period of revision.

6. Give meditation a try

If you feel pressure on your chest from stress, take a few minutes to practise meditation. There are several great free apps with guided meditation (i.e. Headspace) that are beginner-friendly. So put your headphones in, close your eyes and focus on breathing. Small steps lead to a big change!

7. Take a night off

If you have been cramming for 3 weeks non-stop and you feel that you have hit the wall or feel burnt out, the best thing might be to just completely unplug. Take a night or even a day off to do whatever feels good to your soul. The key is not to feel guilty for not doing work then. Turn off your phone, don’t mind anyone’s revision breakdowns on Instagram and just spend some time with yourself. You can do an at-home spa, watch a feel-good movie or get a takeaway, this is YOUR time. Enjoy it because you deserve it (say it)!

Have you tried any of our self-care tips? Share your self-care moments with us via social media of your choice with #studentsurvival.

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