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Zoe Hudson Rose gives their ten tips on how to boost your wellbeing during the exam period.

For many students, the upcoming exam period is a time of revision timetables, planning, post-its, and feeling like you have to choose between sleeping and eating. For some, this can be stressful and take a toll on our health and wellbeing.

With time and practice, I’ve managed to accumulate a toolkit of things that help keep me well.

I won’t discuss revision timetables or tips for study in this article because, while revising is important, it’s not more important than your health and happiness. I’m talking about self-care: taking deliberate steps to look after yourself and your wellbeing. Taking care of yourself will help you to feel and do your best.

Self-care doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or unusual. Many things you can do alone, but you can also do self-care with other people.

My preferred ways to do self-care are simple, cheap and comforting. During exams, I want to optimise my revision time while looking after myself as much as possible.

So, without further ado, here are ten things that boost my wellbeing during exam time:

1. A nice, strong, hot cup of tea

Some people will disagree with me here, but I think tea and other hot drinks warm the soul. When the mornings and evenings are chilly, a nice cup of tea is the perfect solution – especially before or after a long day of revision.

2. Fuzzy friends

I had a panic attack at my friends’ flat recently, and they kindly offered to let me have one of their rabbits to stroke.

Chatting to her and stroking her really helped calm me down and made me realise that contact with animals is very important. I have since resolved to hang out with my cats back home more often, so I can get more cuddle time.

3. A hearty meal

Soups and stews are cheap and easy. You can buy them ready-made and warm them on the hob, or you can make your own if you’re feeling brave and have the time.

4. Early nights

I couldn’t write this article without bringing up sleep hygiene. Sleep is important and without it I’m an emotional wreck, so during exam season I try to go to bed an hour or two earlier.

Getting extra sleep makes me feel refreshed the next morning and gives me the best possible start to the day.

5. Time with loved ones

When studying for long hours, it’s easy to become a hermit and sever all contact with the outside world. However, that’s not healthy for most people. I try and make sure I have contact with other people, even during the revision period.

6. Time for hobbies

My favourite hobby is singing, which requires little to no equipment, training or even talent. Singing can be done alongside other things, such as having a shower, doing the dishes, or making dinner.

It’s time efficient, leaves no mess, and makes me feel better. It probably annoys other people sometimes though.

7. Enjoying nature

On a good day, when I can walk unaided, I’ll wander around the Downs for the evening.

On a bad day, I might manage to hobble over to Royal Fort Gardens for twenty minutes, or watch the birds from my bedroom window.

The location and time spent there is not important. The main goal is to focus on wherever I am, or whatever I’m looking at, which is intentionally nothing to do with my studies.

8. Alone time

Sometimes I don’t realise how much I need time alone. My mental and physical health can fluctuate, which can make me dependent on others.

This can be difficult as I’m both an introvert and fiercely independent. Having alone time gives me space and quiet to recharge.

9. Structure and routine

I have to have a plan. I can wing it when I have to, but not having any structure just makes me unmotivated, which leads to procrastination.

Saying to myself, ‘I will study most days between these times, in one of these places’ is enough to give me some structure, while retaining flexibility to fit around other things.

10. Warm hugs

Hugs always make me feel better. There are many ways to hug someone, from the enthusiastic reunion to the one-armed, affectionate pat.

If there are people or animals in my life that are happy to be hugged, I will hug them. After a long day of studying, there’s nothing I want more than to go home and cuddle up with a loved one.

Except maybe a cup of tea.


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