Nov 12, 2021
10 Winter Self-Care Tips for Mental Health During Exam Season

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash 

Mental and emotional health are important concepts to stay focused on throughout the year. Research shows that anxiety levels among college students tend to rise before finals week. Not to mention the fact that it can be hard for students to have positive feelings about exams when the weather outside is quite dreary. 

Yes, we know that winter is not that bad in all parts of the world, but for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on a less-than-perfect climate where it can be hard for a person to manage stress during finals.

So, here is a fairly long list of self-care tips for mental wellness during the winter exam sessions. 

For some students, the transition from study time to exams does not come easy. Many people feel overwhelmed during the exams. Some students may even experience issues like: 

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional Pressure
  • Physical Exhaustion

Our goal is to provide the best 10 tips to take good care of one’s mental health during the winter exam sessions. 

Rest and Relax

We admit it, many of our staff say they’ve had sleepless nights before the most important exam in their life. Do not be like them! Make sure to fall asleep the night before. Mental Health America says sleepless nights can lead to an exhausted immune system, depression, mental illness, and poor overall health.

Taking good care of your body is vital to your well-being. Self-care is crucial for anyone but especially for a student studying for a winter exam session. Research shows that a human being needs anywhere between 6-9 hours of good night's rest. That ideal number truly depends on your self-care routine. If you are not getting enough sleep try to create a new bedtime routine. The key here is to find the best practice for you.

In order to boost your relaxing hours ahead of academic studies start by eliminating factors that are easy to control. Perhaps one of the best ways to help you relax and provide a sense of peace is to get rid of all the gadgets in your bed. Turn off your phone and tablet, read a book, listen to ambient relaxing sounds. A nice relaxing activity like a warm bath for 30 minutes may also be a welcome addition to your bedtime routine. A good night’s sleep is guaranteed to give you more energy and give you focus during the day. 

Establish a Routine

As we’ve just mentioned, establishing a routine is vital to making sure your exams go without any stress. It can be hard to change your life but this practice will certainly reduce stress as well as provide a sense of order in your day.

You can start by taking baby steps like going outside for some fresh air. This can be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Add meditation and breathing exercises to your daily set of activities. It is likely going to boost your brain power. Write down a to-do list of all your activities for a better understanding of your day. Once you do that, select the times you can tweak your day to make it more effective. Try implementing one or two new activities in your daily life. You will most likely get much more information on how your day is organized.

A routine can help tremendously in terms of time management which in turn will leave you with more than a few minutes to focus on your studies as well as mental health. 

Healthy Diet

It is no secret that a balanced diet is good for your physical health. There are many studies out there that show how important it is for your mental health. A healthy wholesome meal is guaranteed to give your body the energy it needs for studying.

Make sure to have a variety of healthy and nutritious snacks on hand, especially during your study sessions. Great examples of healthy and delicious snacks are: 

  • Cheese 
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Fruits and nuts 

Drink lots of water but don’t go overboard in your liquid intake. Drinking too much may cause unwelcome breaks especially if you have to wait in line to use the bathroom. Also, make sure to get rid of as much caffeine and sugary drinks as possible. Avoid excess sugar and empty calories.

Exercise

There is so much research out there on the benefits of exercise for mental health. So, take note and get going! Regular exercise like tai chi can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with exams. Spending time working out can only benefit your academics. Exercising causes the body to release hormones that make you feel better. 

If an outdoor workout is out of the question due to a huge snowstorm outside, download a few exercise videos or watch them on YouTube. Working out will release serotonin and endorphins which are proven to increase the feeling of happiness. 

A workout can be a nice addition to your daily routine. You can even work out with friends or family members while watching your favorite TV show. If that is a bit out there for your understanding of exercise then try meditation which can even help with muscle relaxation. Find the exercise style that fits your life best and implement it in your schedule. 

Organize Your Space

We are not telling you to go all Marie Kondo here but tidying up can go a long way when it comes to helping you set your studying goals. If you keep things organized then you are likely to spend less time being distracted, and hopefully not stress too much over the whole studying for exams thing. 

We understand that studying at home takes a lot of effort. Indeed there are a lot of distractions out there. So, a helpful way to start organizing your space is to have a dedicated study space. Think of a place in your apartment, dorm room, or house where you can find a spot that will help you avoid any distractions.

It does have to be a state-of-the-art home office. You can find yourself a quiet and comfortable spot in your house to specifically dedicate to studying for exams. Organizing your space may also help improve your mental health. To ease the anxiety associated with studying try to focus on the better parts of it, the reward, and the outcome. 

Also, the actual organizing part may be as simple as putting unnecessary things away, stacking books, and folding clothes that are all over your room before sitting down to study. Another great way to always stay organized is putting away your phone while studying. That means, no chatting with friends on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok at your study location. 

Online Help

There are so many online classes, tutorials, and helpful groups available that one can spend hours seeking new knowledge. It is important not to lose track of your ultimate goal. 

Finding an online course that can improve your skills and knowledge can help you do well on exams. It can also help you get rid of the stress associated with studying. 

An online tutorial can provide insights into the subject that you may be struggling with. Many of them are free and are provided by top colleges and schools. 

Support Groups

It can be hard to socialize in winter. So, seeking out emotional support groups in your area can help with mental illness struggles. Do not be afraid to seek help if needed. There is absolutely no shame in joining a support group. If you think that you are experiencing something more than just stress over exams - talk to a qualified professional about it.

Finding a group or an event focusing on helping students with exams can also be a great way to keep your mental health on track. Make a conscious effort to connect with friends and family members who can be a great help during the studying process.

Socializing can have a big impact on how we deal with depression. Keeping in touch with people face to face or over the phone can reduce thoughts of loneliness. It can have a very positive impact on your mental wellness overall. 

Pace Yourself

One way to stay on track and avoid feelings of pressure is to spread out the actual studying hours. People retain information differently, so don’t expect to remember everything right away. Spacing studying sessions into blocks can help with managing your day and stress levels. You can also create a multiple choice quiz or have a review session for yourself as you go along.

Yes, repetition is often a key to success but do not cram it all in your brain at once. If you feel anxious or stressed about studying, take a step back and return to it when the feelings have gone away.

Schedule Your Studies

This falls into the routine category. To stay on track and avoid unnecessary stress, create a study schedule for yourself. You can use a Google calendar, a notepad, old school paper calendar to write everything out.

Start by creating acronyms for tasks and jotting down the ones you have to study for. Make sure to break your large tasks into several small ones. Most importantly do not overwork yourself and set realistic goals. Scheduling can help a lot in terms of taking breaks, planning your day, even practicing mindfulness exercises.

Find What Works 

Remember no National Institute will tell you what is the best method for studying. Essentially, it is all about finding what works best for you. There are a few options to pick from: 

  • Finding a study buddy 
  • Getting a tutor
  • Creating your schedule and rules 
  • Joining a study group 

Always keep in mind that even though your academic work is extremely important, your physical, as well as mental health, should always be on top of the list. We truly hope that these tips will help you stay productive and keep your mental health a priority during the winter exam as well as the holiday season. 

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