January exams are an important part of many university courses. If you've got to sit exams this January, you're probably studying hard and thinking about little else. Many students get anxious, stressed or worried in the run up to exams of any kind - if this is how you feel, you're certainly not alone! If the stress is getting a bit much for you, here are our top tips on how to balance your lifestyle whilst you're revising in the run up to exam season...
1. Eat well
Long nights in the library, sitting at your desk for hours on end... studying can be very unhealthy. In particular, January exams, coming just after the excesses of Christmas, can leave you feeling drained and unwell. Try to balance this by eating healthily. You'll feel better, have more energy, and cooking yourself a healthy meal is a great way to take a break from studying without feeling guilty. Superfoods such as spinach, nuts, mango, fish, and blueberries are thought to help improve your concentration and are therefore fantastic to eat while you're studying.
2. Get enough sleep
If you're feeling the pressure, it can be tempting to stay up all night studying. We all work best at different times and in different circumstances, but try not to push your body too hard - you don't want to be falling asleep during the actual exams! Maintaining a regular routine is good for your body, productivity, and stress levels.
3. Talk about it
When the stress levels are getting too high, don't be afraid to turn to a good friend or family member to get some of your concerns off your chest. Often you'll find that your friends are in the same boat, which can be very comforting. Most universities also have student support or counciling services where you will always find someone willing to listen.
4. Make sure you're prepared
Exams will always be scary situations, but if you go into them knowing that you have a strong grasp of the course materials, you'll feel a lot better. Don't waste time worrying or thinking up worse-case scenarios... get your head down and get studying! If you feel that you're running out of time to learn it all, remember that you're not aiming to know everything there is to know - that would be simply impossible. You can only do your best. And if you've left things a bit late, remember that it's never too late to start learning; having a good grasp of even a small amount of the material is much better than just giving up and not learning any of it.
Alongside getting enough sleep and eating regular healthy meals, exercise is important to keep yourself healthy during exam prep. Exercise is also well-known to help improve your mood, so is perfect if you're feeling stressed. If you're worried about time, don't feel that you have to set aside a couple of hours to go to the gym - why not intersperse half an hour of studying with 5-10 minute work out sessions (jumping jacks or push ups) in your room? It's a great way to give your brain a break from revising and will make you feel energised and more awake when you get back to your books.
6. Make plans
With January exams looming, it can be hard to look beyond them to the rest of the year. Remember, these exams are not the end of the world, although they may feel pretty all-consuming right now! Make sure you've got some fun and social activities planned in for the weeks after the exams to give yourself something positive to look forward to - it'll really help you through those long hours of revising!
7. Give yourself a break
It's important to remember that you don't have to revise all the time. Get out of your room, socialise, do other things. Even if you just meet your friends for a coffee break at the library cafe, a bit of time away from your work will help you to relax, think of other things and rekindle your energy. We don't get a lot of sunlight in January, so try to pop out for a walk during the day if the sun is shining! Don't beat yourself up about taking a break from studying - most people will find it more productive to work hard for a short amount of time than to try to work all day and just end up procrastinating a lot.
How do you stop yourself from getting too stressed during exams? Let us know in the comments below...