It’s a little ironic that I’m writing this now; it’s the penultimate night before my exams, and I’m desperately seeking something to distract me from my impending assessments. But I felt that, given the relationship I have with exam terms, and the toll they routinely take on my mental health, I’d speak a little bit about what I’ve learnt over time.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s the importance of your support structures. My family, friends, and boyfriend, are all aware of my exam related anxiety, which makes it so much easier for me to reach out to them when I’m stressed. From little things, like popping your favourite treats in the post, to even sitting by on FaceTime, to keep you company, and help you relax as you revise, the impact of my support system is beyond words.
I also think it’s important to be honest with those around you. There’s no shame in admitting that certain situations trigger your anxiety, so long as your clear that you’ll do you’re best to continue to work despite this. Relating to my situation specifically, telling my college that I was suffering during exam term, improved my situation tremendously; they put me in contact with a college counsellor for me to see if things were too difficult, and arranged for me to sit my exams in a smaller room separate to the large exam hall.
Now, the steps above rely little on the people around us, but it’s also important to be proactive yourself in managing your stress. It took me a very long time to realise that my anxiety, and mental health in general, were things I’d have to continuously work on. Particularly when you’re surround by people for whom ‘normal’ stress reactions require absolutely no effort, it can feel odd to take the time out to work on things that come so naturally to others; but this will make all the difference when those stressful times come. Practice mindfulness, see therapist or counsellor, take up jogging or a sport, find SOMETHING that can take you out of those awful panic-filled moments.
I hope these tips were useful, I think I’ll be doing a YouTube video on this in the future, as it is something I get a lot of questions on. Please share in the comments, if you have any tips for managing anxiety, you never know who you may help!