Mental Health Stress and Exams

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Exams can be one of the most stressful points in a student’s young life at the best of times. The pandemic has bought its own challenges, and additional stressors. During this time, it is imperative we focus on how we can alleviate this stress. 

First things first, it’s important to know what signs to look for: 

  • Not sleeping properly 
  • Being irritable 
  • Lose interest in food or eat more or normal 
  • Feeling hopeless about the future 
  • Be negative or have a low mood

The truth is, sometimes it can be hard to judge and assess how much stress your child is under. So here are some actionable steps that you can take, according to the NHS website. 

Implement A Balanced Diet

Encourage your child to eat less processed food and to adopt a balanced diet. A balanced diet can make your child feel more energised and motivated to get through the day. This can include plenty of vegetables and fruits. 

Foods that are high in sugar, high in fat and high in caffeine can make their child moody and irritable. 

Help your child gets enough sleep 

It’s important that your child is getting enough sleep. Having a good’s night’s sleep “improves thinking and concentration”. 

A way you can achieve this is to allow 30 minutes before your child goes to bed, to unwind. To improve the quality of their sleep. 

Be flexible 

It’s so important to be extra lenient and flexible during this time. You may find that your child is not on top of their chores as they would normally be. It’s important to understand this and not be too hard on them. 

It’s important to remember exams “do not last forever”, they are just for a season. 

Try to implement your own methods to keep calm during this time and remember to continue to offer support and a listening ear even when everything seems “normal. 

Encourage movement 

Exercise boost endorphins and makes us feel good. Encourage your child to get exercise. Even if it’s just a 10-minute walk it can do the world of good to get moving. It can help to exercise with other people too. Perhaps your child might have a friend that they like to exercise with or may you could join them. 

Do not add to the pressure 

Easier said than done, but do not add pressure. Due to its nature, your child is naturally stressed during this time. So it’s important to be extra conscious of your behaviour. 

Here are 3 things you can do to not add pressure: 

  • Listen to your child
  • Give them support
  • Avoid criticism 

(Possibly) Seek further help

You may find you will find that your child’s stress disappears once their exams are over. However, for some, you may find that your child’s anxiety persists. If your child has a severely low mood and it “interferes with their everyday life”, then seeing a GP is a good place to start in getting the help necessary. 

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