May is always a dreaded month: filled to the brim with deadlines and exams. And even though this is naturally a very stressful time, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t need to be, and there are ways that you can make things as easy for yourself as possible. Gemma Cockrell brings you five practical tips to help manage the pressure and anxiety that often accompanies exam and deadline season.
Take things step by step. Make a list of all of your exams and deadlines, and take them one by one. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, just focus only on the next deadline you have. Prioritise that one, and momentarily forget about the others until your feelings of anxiety have passed. This way, you will be able to stop panicking and begin to feel calmer, because your brain will be able to zone in and focus on one thing. This will allow you to actually be productive when it comes to working on the next assignment on your list, and you’ll feel much better once you’ve got something ticked off. Then, when you’re feeling calmer, you can come back to your other ones at a later date.
2. Take time off
You don’t have to be working 24/7 to get good grades
If you feel yourself getting stressed, it’s probably a sign you need some time off. And that’s completely fine! You don’t have to be working 24/7 to get good grades. In fact, you will probably do better if you take some time away, and you will likely find things easier when you do hit the books again after your break. Use this to spend time with the people you love: relax with your friends, FaceTime your family. This time is equally as important as the time you spend studying, and taking an evening away from your work will do you more good than it will harm, I promise.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
spend your time with people who make you feel happy, at ease, and relaxed
On a similar note to making time for your friends, make sure the people around you are a positive influence, and that spending time with them makes you happy. Exams are stressful enough as it is, you don’t need to be surrounded by people who are contributing to that stress. If certain people are making you feel worse right now, don’t be afraid to distance yourself from them until the exam period is over (or, if they don’t bring anything positive to your life, cut them off entirely), and instead, spend your time with people who make you feel happy, at ease, and relaxed.
4. Find an environment that works for you
For some people, the library allows optimal focus levels, but this isn’t the case for everyone. If the library doesn’t work for you, try other locations until you find the one for you. A nice coffee shop is often a great atmosphere, or you can even just work from your bedroom if you prefer the comfort of your own space. It’s completely up to you, and there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Once you find the environment that works for you, exams and deadlines will become a lot less stressful, and you’ll be able to focus much better in an environment you’re comfortable and happy in.
5. Remember that everyone else is worried too!
Every student on the planet can relate to how you are feeling right now
I know it’s difficult to believe, but you aren’t the only one who is stressed! Sometimes, this can be really reassuring to hear. Every student on the planet can relate to how you are feeling right now. You are not alone. If you need to talk to someone, your friends will definitely understand how you are feeling, and if they are good friends then they will listen and support you. Remember that other people are feeling exactly the same as you are, and you are completely normal for feeling like this during this time. Once you realise that your feelings are completely valid, it actually becomes much easier to stop overthinking how you are feeling and begin to feel more relaxed.
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