If someone you love is studying hard for exams, our Go Vita experts are here to help with natural nerve soothers.
Exam-related stress is an inevitable part of life for a student, but it can exhaust natural defences, leaving the body susceptible to a wide range of health problems, from the common cold to more serious issues like adrenal exhaustion. This seven-step program can help.
- Move it!
Exercise regularly – find something you enjoy doing so that you will see it as a well-earned reward, not another item on your to-do list. Breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, massage, and biofeedback are all effective relaxation techniques. Transcendental Meditation is particularly helpful, as it only takes 20 minutes and is therefore easy to fit into a busy schedule; it also increases alertness and self-belief.
- Eat smart
Certain foods are exceptionally good at reducing stress and improving energy, mood and cognitive ability. Concentrate on obtaining healthy essential fatty acids to boost brain power from nuts, seeds, whole grains, oily fish, olive oil, flaxseed oil and leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli, spinach and the ‘super-greens’ like spirulina, alfalfa and wheatgrass. Snacks that will give you an instant brain boost and calm your nerves include bananas, dates and raisins.
- Try supplements
The B-group vitamins promote the health of the nervous and immune systems and counteract fatigue. Calcium and magnesium relieve muscle tension and soothe the nerves. Siberian ginseng and ashwagandha, which bolster the adrenal glands, may also be effective. These stress-fighting herbs are called ‘adaptogens’, because they help the body adapt to challenges.
- Pick a flower
Rescue Remedy is a time-honoured self help homeopathic flower essence that is popular around the world, and it may be safely taken during times of anxiety or stress.
- Breathe deep
Aromatherapy uses essential oils obtained from the flowers, seeds or bark of plants for a range of therapeutic effects. Lavender essential oil is a must-have for any student because it reduces stress levels and induces relaxation. Add five to 10 drops to a warm bath before bedtime to ensure deep and restorative sleep. We also love Thursday Plantation’s handy little Lavender Roll-on – pop it in your pocket or school bag for instant stress relief.
- Think positive
Do not underestimate the power of positive affirmations. If you have negative thoughts about yourself, your self-esteem, confidence and energy levels will all suffer. To help you feel less nervous about your exams, write down 10 relevant qualities you have, such as “I am a determined person”; “I can ask for help if I need it” or “I am capable of doing this”. Repeat them out loud, daily.
- Ditch the downers
Eliminate or restrict your intake of caffeine and alcohol. They both contribute to jitteriness and keep you from sleeping. Maintain social ties – the close support of family and friends is crucial to getting through a challenging time.
Time management will increase your efficiency and give you a sense of control. Set realistic targets, make a to-do list each day and prioritise the most pressing items; remember to schedule in regular breaks, too. Keep your study space tidy – most people find it physically and mentally draining to be surrounded by clutter.