How to Manage a Healthy Lifestyle during A-Level Stressby James Timpson (Submit your guest post to us and get published here)
The period leading up to your A-levels and the weeks of the exams themselves can be a particularly stressful time. With stress often comes a lowered immune system, which means that you are vulnerable to picking up colds and flu, just what you want to avoid when you need to study.
It is important therefore, to take particular care of your health prior to and during exam time. The key areas outlined below are a good place to start.
|Manage a Healthy Lifestyle during A-Level Stress|
It is important to not feel alone when you are going through such a stressful time. Firstly, educational support is necessary to ensure you can raise any issues or concerns about the syllabus or exams. Oaklands College advises that a high level of tutor support will help all students to perform to the best of their abilities.
Secondly, reach out to family and friends and don’t be afraid to let them know if you are struggling with revision or with exam nerves. It is surprising how reassuring a few calming words from those who know us best can be.
A healthy outlet for stress is through exercise. Undertake an activity or sport that you enjoy, whether that be running, cycling or getting together with friends for some team sports. Some experts suggest Jiu-Jitsu can be extremely important in the process of learning as a martial art can encourage an increase in confidence for the student. This confidence, alongside channelling some of the stress that builds up at exam time, is the perfect antidote to your nerves.
To ward off coughs and colds and to ensure that your brain has enough energy to keep it fuelled through all those days of revision you need to eat a well-balanced diet. This should include: protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, plenty of fruit and vegetables and of course the occasional treat to keep you going. Don’t eat too many sugary items though, as this can lead to your blood sugar taking a dive, which in turn can leave you feeling particularly tired and anxious.
Also remember to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Dehydration can lead to tiredness and an inability to concentrate, not what you need when there is a large amount of revision to be done.
It’s easy to skip meals, or to make something quick and not very nutritious, when you feel like you should be studying all the time. However, this is not going to stand you in good stead during exam time. You also need some time away from your books and laptop, so mealtimes can be the perfect excuse to relax a little and catch up with friends and family.
Alcohol and cigarettes are never a great health choice, and if you are turning to them because of stress, they are not going to help. The same is true, but to a lesser extent, of coffee and energy drinks. They might give you an initial boost but they are soon going to lead to you feeling exhausted. Where possible steer clear of all stimulants during revision and exam time.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Another important factor is to get plenty of rest, both whilst you are revising and during the time that you take the exams. It might seem a good idea to stay up late and go over your notes again, but it is far better to do it when your brain is refreshed and well rested in the morning.
The other factor is that when we are tired even small issues can seem a lot worse and this can magnify the stress that we are feeling.
The best way to get to sleep before an exam is to switch off from all laptops, screens and mobiles at least an hour before bed. Take a bath and then just relax for a while, maybe read a book that has nothing to do with your coursework.
All of these healthy living ideas will add up to you feeling much more relaxed and in good form in time for your exams. Probably the final piece of advice is to keep your exams in perspective. Even if you feel that a paper doesn’t go very well it’s best to put it behind you and move on to the next one. It’s always difficult to tell if you have done well or not and furthermore worrying isn’t going to help you get a different result. Keep focused on the last day of exams and before you know it the summer will lie ahead, free of study and stress.
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