Health and Wellbeing

Top 10 ways to look after yourself at exam time

Assessment time can be stressful, and it's easy to forget to look after ourselves when we get busy. Here are our top 10 tips for looking after yourself during assessment time:


1. Plan down-time
Make a revision timetable that includes time off. Make sure your scheduled breaks are clearly visible on your timetable - that way you’ll always have breaks to look forward to and your time off will feel more protected.


2. Use your breaks effectively
If you tend to stay at your laptop and switch from work to social media, or to look at your phone, reflect on whether your break feels like a break. It might feel better to get up, move around, and have a change of scenery.


3. Go outdoors
Research has shown that time spent outdoors has multiple benefits for our mental health. The contrast between time spent indoors working and time outdoors can also help you feel refreshed when you return to work.


4. Be social
Make time to see housemates and friends. Academic work can feel lonely and isolating, so spending time connecting with others is really important for your wellbeing.


5. Exercise!
Whether it’s the gym, a swim, or a brisk walk, it does you good in so many ways and makes a refreshing, energising change after sitting in front of your laptop.


6. Keep caffeine to a minimum
Be careful with your intake of coffee, tea and energy drinks. Too much caffeine can cause difficulties with concentration and can disrupt your sleep pattern, especially if consumed in the evening. Do make sure you drink lots of water. Herbal teas are another good way to keep your body hydrated.


7. Eat well
Feed your brain with nourishing meals and try to avoid processed foods. If you feel like you haven't got time to cook healthy meals from scratch every day then prepare a batch of your favourite healthy food (like chilli, curry, stir-fry) before exam time and freeze it in portions.


8. Sleep well
Try to stick to your sleep pattern. It can be tempting to throw routine out of the window when revising however the best way to maintain a healthy sleep pattern, and get lots of rest, is to try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day. This will help your brain to function well, which is especially important at this time of year!


9. Relax
Do some focused relaxation. Think about what works well for you; whether it’s a hot bath, playing Xbox, mindfulness, remembering to breathe deeply, or going for a walk outside – make time for it and give yourself permission to enjoy it.


10. Ask for help when you need it
Staff at the Student Life Centre are on hand if things feel difficult – drop in to see them, give them a call, or book an appointment through Sussex Direct. You can also find more useful advice on the Student Minds website.