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Year after year and it feels like the horror of finals lurking around April just never go away.
Yep, you've guessed it: it's exam season... again (sigh) !
Honestly there are not that much suggestions that one can be given for studying other than preparing in advance... but!
And here's a big "but": you can take control over what affects your emotional state during preparation time, so you can be at your best self when taking exams!
As straightforward as it may sound, there really is no better self-care regimen than taking care of your food intake.
Food is essential in fueling your mind and has a direct impact on your well-being. Not eating properly can affect your energy levels and overall mood throughout the day.
Keep in mind that taking exams isn't just about how much you know the content: it's also about how good of a test-taker you are. Thus, it's crucial that you are at your best both mentally and physically, so there are no external factors affecting your performance.
Self-care is being kind to yourself and recognizing when you need some time off. It can be a guilt-trip when you feel like you don't deserve a 20-minute power nap or perceive a break as a luxury that you can't afford.
I know I often have trouble allowing myself to take a break during exam season, so I can totally understand why some may feel this way. The one advice that usually works for me is to remind myself that long hours of studying do not translate into effective studying. This means that even if you are cramming for 18 hours straight , your mind won't retain most of this information. So essentially all that time was wasted.
Instead, schedule off blocks of time and focus on accomplishing a realistic goal. The next time you revisit the subject, quickly go through the previous learned material, so the information becomes solidified. This prevents your mind from going blank as is often the case with cramming.
I know, I know... we've heard this one many times before.
See, the thing is that stress is a powerful and oftentimes overwhelming emotion. It can distract us from achieving our set reading goals and even paralyse us depending on the gravity. Each day that you delay your studying piles on the work and inevitably the stress that comes with it.
Exercise is known to relieve stress and release endorphins which creates a positive feeling. As you can imagine, having a positive attitude throughout your studying session makes all the difference between getting an A or B+
Procrastination can really be a burden and prevent you from using your time efficiently. It is the type of carelessness that will easily creep into your life and before you know it, it'll have taken over your decision making.
Don't let it get to you!
You'll only regret it later on when you realize how little time is left for all that needs to be done. There's no need to put yourself through so much stress when it can be avoided in the first place.
If you lack the motivation to start studying, you can try to find things that you genuinely enjoy doing and reserve a spot for them in your schedule. That way, you'll always have something to look forward to.
I personally like to use pamper sessions as a reward. Generally, I opt for a Bean Body's Coffee Scrub with Coconut Oil and Coco Berry Scent. I'll admit that it can get a bit messy, but the scrub makes for such a fun pamper session that I don't mind it too much. Plus, the berry scent smells absolutely delicious!
I'll also usually have a hair mask going on. I know I've spoken about Lakme's Fortifying Mask numerous times before, but this is a great hydrating product and always leaves my hair feeling soft!
This one is hard even for me to come to terms with. Coffee is pretty much the holy grail during exam season and I honestly can't picture myself surviving that phase without it. However, too much caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and increase stress. And you don't want that.
Rather than going off of it (which let's be honest here: there's no way that's happening), you can try substituting coffee for black or green tea, which have lower quantities of caffeine.
It's a win: you get the caffeine you need and avoid wreaking havoc with your sleep patterns.
Before going to bed, first thing in the morning, on your way to school, in-between classes, during classes, and pretty much every imaginable scenario possible, you'll find it there: social media.
Yes, it's the ever-recurring topic that never leaves the discussion table. I'm sure at this point everyone has an opinion about it: some love it, others hate it; either way, it's not going anywhere. And regardless of where you stand on this subject, it's important to address the implications that social media has on our lives.
I'm convinced that all millennials at some point growing up have heard complaints left, right and center about how glued they are to their phones. I mean no one can deny it, social media has been integrated into our lives in such a way that there's no going back.
I find that for young people it has almost become second nature to navigate through the various platforms' features and look through their feed. During finals week, however, I'd strongly advise you against going on social media.
For starters, staying connected to your device can eliminate your sleep. That's a "sleep debt" as I call it that you'll have to pay for later on. You'll either feel drowsy and end up not having a very productive study session or you'll start your day very late and miss out on important study hours.
Secondly, studies have shown that social media can evoke negative emotions to very regular users who may compare their lives to what they see online. Again, you want to make sure that you feel your best and have an overall positive attitude going into your exam. Certainly this wouldn't be helping you out at a critical time like this one.
Thirdly, you can seriously spend a long time surfing the web without realizing it. Once more, return to the "no procrastination" advice mentioned earlier in this post. In the end, it's your grades that are at stake.