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How to successfully survive exam season without getting too stressed

Whether you're facing several deadlines, exams or a dissertation hand in, it's easy to forget that we need to take time to relax and de-stress.

Often students work long days, stay in the library until an unholy hour or even forget to eat. However, it's vital to take care of our mind and bodies in order to perform the best we can.

1. Get an adequate amount of sleep

The best way to start the day is after a great night's sleep. There is no use trying to write essay after essay or attempting to learn information if you're constantly daydreaming about your bed. To help you get a good nights rest try staying off technology for an hour or two before bed, reading a good book (one of my favourites is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood) or using lavender pillow mists and sleeping balms to relax you. My favourite thing is to drink a cup of Clipper's Sleep Easy night time tea. While many herbal teas taste disgustingly healthy, this one tastes sweet and is comforting, like a hug in a cup.

2. Eat properly and stay hydrated
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A fresh batch of cinnamon honey almond butter to go with these yummy apples ?...Melody can’t have peanut butter ☹️...On the bright side she has never had it so she doesn’t know the difference. She absolutely loves her almond butter especially paired with jelly so you know we go through a bunch over the week ? This is a super easy, healthy and cheap recipe that I make on the regular!! Try it for yourself and let me know how it turns out ?? . Ingredients: - 2 cups unsalted almonds - 2 tbs coconut oil ? - 1/4 tsp salt - 1/4 tsp cinnamon - 1 tbs honey ? Directions: - Blend almonds in high powered blender or food processor for 2 mins. - Scrape the sides of container and add dry ingredients. - Add coconut oil and honey while blending for another 2 minutes or until smooth. - Enjoy ? . . . . #nutbutter #vitamix #almondbutter #homecooking #inspiration #apples #homemade #nutspread #almonds #foodpics #foodphotography #foodallergymom #peanutfree #delicious #yummy #honey #cinnamon #coconutoil #whatsonmyplate #snacks #healthysnacks #toddlermomlife #instafoodgram #foodography #prettyfood #hungry #spoonful #wprecipemaker #easyrecipes

A post shared by Melissa Griggs Choe (@makingmelodies18) on

This ties in with my previous point: our brain needs nutritional foods and plenty of water in order to function at full performance. It's easy to skip meals when suddenly it feels like there's not enough time in the day to do everything. However, this is a must. It's easy to crave sugary and convenient meals such as a pot noodle or a bar of chocolate, but these things will often leave you hungry and you'll have a sugar crash. My favourites are popcorn, pitta bread and hummus and bananas. These are often lightweight and easy to pack in a bag for a trip to the library, and convenient to pick at when I'm bored.

3. Take frequent breaks

You can't work 12 hours straight, or for some people, even more than that. Breaks are important in order to allow your brain to rest and recuperate. If you're constantly staring at a laptop screen,  go for a quick walk outside. If you're constantly writing, give your hands a quick rest and watch something on YouTube. At the University of Nottingham, the lake is a great way to unwind surrounded by squirrels, wild rabbits and birds while looking out at the waters.

4. Don't compare how much work you're doing to other people

It's easy to look at your friends, and feel insecure about how much work they're doing compared to you. However, it's not a competition and they may have different workloads or might work at a different pace. And don't let them demotivate you either: if they find something easy that you struggle with, that doesn't mean to say that you won't do just as good. As long as you've tried your best, your work and efforts are more than enough. Don't let other people's actions pressure you into overworking, or you're just going to burn out.

5. Animal therapy

Often universities have days where therapy dogs come in for students to spend time with a dog; this is such a fun way to unwind, having been to two of these events myself. The presence of animals are known to have calming effects and can be a great boost to your mental health. As a University of Nottingham student, I feel like I benefited from the presence of Bertie the Hallward cat, as did many other students who fussed over him.

6. Exercise
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Take Action ?

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Even if you're not the most active person in the world, this one is important. After hours of sitting still and focusing, exercising is one of the best ways to unwind and improve the health of your body and mind. There are plenty of ways to stay active: going swimming, walking, to the gym or even just kicking a ball about outside with some friends. As a way of getting outside while still remaining social, I love to attend classes run at my gym. It's a great distraction where you just focus on what you're being told to do while being beneficial because you don't have to do much thinking either. The music is loud and there is a sense of community.

7. Socialise

It's easy to think the best way to focus is to shut yourself away from friends and family in order to focus solely on your work. However, we aren't robots and we need socialisation in order to feel appreciated, cared for and happy. My favourite thing to do is to go to the cinema or go out for lunch. At the University of Nottingham, the student bar in the Portland building called Mooch does plenty of affordable and tasty meals while giving you the option to sit outside and get some fresh air.

8. Have some 'me' time

It's important to do things you enjoy and not let the entire day be dictated by work unless absolutely necessary. I never like to work past 8 pm unless I have to, and then I'll throw on a feel-good film or ad indulgent face mask and do things I enjoy.

Ultimately, the stress will be worth it. Soon you'll be free and it'll be summer. Let us know how you de-stress during exam season in the comments below.

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