Reboot your mind and body for exams
March brings challenging days for students and their mothers. The month is usually stressful and can lead to unnecessary strain on the body as well as mind. It affects the health and also the performance of the child. However, certain amount of stress is inevitable during exams and infact acts like a motivator that helps to focus and prepare.
Both my children are appearing for board exams this year. They are in 10th and 12th respectively. I request you to please give them some tips to manage their stress. - Mrs. Parveen Sultana, Trimulghery
March brings challenging days for students and their mothers. The month is usually stressful and can lead to unnecessary strain on the body as well as mind. It affects the health and also the performance of the child. However, certain amount of stress is inevitable during exams and infact acts like a motivator that helps to focus and prepare. But when that stress gets out of control, it can be debilitating and can make test preparation a difficult task. Therefore, it would be wise to prepare a strategy to manage your stress.
Before we speak about stress management let’s discuss stress symptoms.
- Sleep irregularities
- Breathing irregularities. (This could lead to muscle tensions and unexplained aches and pains.)
- Forgetfulness (failing to understand what you are reading. This leads to short term memory and hence forgetfulness.)
- Increased irritability and anxiety
- Knotting of the stomach
- Poor appetite, etc
If you notice three to four such symptoms, understand that your child is suffering from severe anxiety and stress. Before it aggravates and affects the child’s performance, you should try to be aware of the stress factors and take control of it.
Tips to conquer stress
- First and foremost, start preparing for exams at least two-three months prior to commencement. This will avoid late nights and the need of mugging up, which only adds to the existing anxiety and stress. The tension of completing the syllabus is one of the most noted factors that cause stress.
- Make an effort to build a harmony with your surroundings, environment and people around. This will help you keep peace with yourself and prevent stress triggers.
- Organize yourself: Prepare a daily schedule that includes your day to day activities. This should not only include your studies and school hours but also includes bath time, meal time, play time, workout time, etc. This will give a clear picture of your daily life and help in time management. Go through the schedule everyday in the morning to plan your day wisely and go through it in the evening too so you can review certain things if needed and monitor your progress.
- Physical exercise can improve your health and the productivity of your body. It can include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics, yoga, etc
- Prananayam for even 15 minutes daily is good for heart and lungs. It helps in increasing your productivity and brings oxygen and food to body’s cells. Exercise your heart and lungs regularly. A minimum of three days per week for 15-20 minutes is essential. Whenever you need to relax, you can follow this technique of relaxation through mindful breathing:
- Inhale deeply through your nose, counting one to four and then exhale through your mouth counting one to eight. Keep increasing the counts but maintain the ratio of 1:2 :: exhale: inhale. Be totally aware of your breath and concentrate on the long sighing sound while exhaling and experience consciously the tension being dissolved.
- Get seven-eight hours of sleep every day. Avoid revising during bedtime and consider your bed as a sanctuary.
- Take breaks while you study as the concentration time for a normal person under normal conditions is around 50-60 minutes. The mind needs time to process and integrate information. The span of concentration is much lower especially for tough subjects and also the subjects those are of less interest. Therefore accordingly take study breaks and rest both your eyes and mind.
- Say “no” to social activities and invitations for which you don’t have time and energy.
- Get up 15 minutes early in the morning to avoid inevitable morning mishaps.
- Procrastination is stressful and is a proven fact; therefore fight it out and never postpone your scheduled studies.
- Eat right, take nutritious meals that include servings of fruits and vegetables and have a wholesome breakfast. You have to feed your body as well as your brain.
- Keep smiling and laughing always as this has a physiological calming effect. You can refresh yourself by reading a funny book or by watching a funny movie
- Take out some time specifically for yourselves. Like indulging in an activity that you enjoy and improve your mood in no time. This will help you return to your studies relaxed and refreshed.
- Do not ever compare yourself with your siblings or any of your close friends. Avoid destructive self-talk like, “he has revised more than I” or “he has a better memory” or “Oh my god! he has finished his revision and I am lagging behind”, etc. Everyone has a different approach to revision and you should choose the one that best suits you.
- Prepare for the next morning a day before
- Be positive: If you have completed the required revision then you need not worry about past experiences of failure repeating. Instead, you should solely be focused on your studies and the amount of time you have in hand.
- Remember the fact that when the cell phone/laptop gets slow you reboot it and magically it starts working normally.
- Similarly the points above are ways to reboot to your body and mind. Therefore, whenever you realize that the productivity of the mind and the body has decreased, do not get anxious or stressed but instead reboot it!!