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Study guide: Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing

PUBLISHED: 10:21 08 February 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge is a champion of more mental health support in schools. Photo by Place2Be

The Duchess of Cambridge is a champion of more mental health support in schools. Photo by Place2Be

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It is no secret that studying for public exams can be incredibly stressful.

Former secondary school teacher Catherine Lough gives her best tips on wellbeing as exam season edges closer.Former secondary school teacher Catherine Lough gives her best tips on wellbeing as exam season edges closer.

A little pressure can be helpful for motivation, but many students find the stress overwhelming, or detrimental to their mental health.

So how can you ensure that you take care of your well-being while revising?

Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness can sound like a confusing term, but all it really means is focusing more on the present moment.

Overthinking possible outcomes of exams or worrying too much about the future can exacerbate anxiety, so mindfulness, which is essentially a form of meditation, can help you to connect with your surroundings and feel calmer.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness. You might pay more attention to your environment while going for a walk or run. Some people find it helpful to practise mindfulness through colouring or drawing – there are some great examples of mindful colouring images available on Pinterest.

It can also be helpful to focus on your breathing for a few moments in a quiet space.

The mental health charity Mind has some excellent suggestions here for how you can incorporate mindfulness into your day.

Make time to relax

Try not to overburden yourself with too many topics to cover in a single day.

Make time for regular breaks during studying, even if you simply spend five minutes chatting with a friend or drinking a cup of tea.

Try to build in some relaxing activities into your schedule each week – watching a film or listening to a favourite playlist will refresh you and keep you feeling motivated.

Managing anxiety and depression

If you are feeling overly anxious, or if you are experiencing low mood, it is really important that you seek help.

If you feel you might be suffering from depression or anxiety, book an appointment with your GP to ask about further support.

Talk to your teachers, parents or friends about how you are feeling. You can also check out Mind’s guide on teenage mental health.

It is really common to feel down at times during stressful periods, but there is lots of help out there available for you.

Remember that no exam is worth compromising your mental and physical health.

If you think you are struggling, speak to a trusted adult to seek support.

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