You've been juggling your studies and work for weeks, maybe even months. Fitting in classes around the day job, cramming study breaks into your daily commute. Now that exam week is here, the finish line is in sight but you're starting to feel burnt-out. Take some steps towards maintaining your health this week and you will not only feel better but you will perform better too.
This is not the week for trying to keep in touch with everyone. Give yourself a break so you can focus. Your friends, family and will completely understand that your focus is needed elsewhere this week. Copy and paste the below into every communication channel you can think of:
Hi there, Thanks for keeping in touch. I’m taking my exams to become a qualified Accountant/Digit Marketer/Data Analyst so please excuse me if I don’t reply right away. Looking forward to catching up when the exams are finished. Hope you have a great week
Now that you've taken step number 1, this next step should be much easier.
Screen time is proven to reduce focus and affect sleep. Both of these are things you need this week to avoid burn-out and unnecessary stress. Going cold turkey from your phone might not be an option for you, so try these steps to reduce your screentime:
• Turn down the volume and turn off all notification noises.
• Switch off your phone when you go to bed (your alarm should still work - double check) and don't switch it back on until 20 mins after your last exam of the day.
• Replace social media time with some breathing exercises to unwind, maybe some stretching to work out the tension. If you are craving the latest sports fixtures or celebrity gossip pick up a newspaper or magazine on your way home.
• Fruit/energy bar
• Printed exam timetable and directions to the exam venue
• Phone charger
• Pens that work, one black and one blue
• A pencil and rubber to scribble notes on your exam paper as you go
• Any required medication e.g. asthma inhaler
The right foods this week will aid your focus and sleep quality. Avoid bulky, greasy, meals and anything that could irritate your stomach. Stick to healthy light meals with plenty of colourful and green leafy vegetables.
Most supermarkets and convenience stores stock reasonably priced and freshly cooked meals that are quick to heat and nutritionally balanced. Avoid alcohol, you will have time to celebrate when you're done. Limit stimulants like caffeine and energy drinks or you could become jittery.
You have been on the go for weeks and weeks. When you walk out of that last exam make a commitment to yourself to wind down. Don't try to jump back into your life where you left off.
Keep the out of office on for a day. Have a lie-on (lie-in if you prefer). Only listen to your voicemails and open the post when you are properly rested. Keep the healthy eating going and drink plenty of water. The type of exhaustion that often follows a period of study or stress can be delayed. Keep looking after yourself after your exams.