It’s the last week of revision, before exams start, so everyone is in panic mode. But, have no fear – I’m here to help! Thought of the day: take good care of yourself and revision will fall into place. All you have to do is suffer through these next few weeks, and then summer officially begins (insert every summer emoji in existence)!
When you feel like you’re about to give up, ask yourself these questions:
Are you freaking out? Well, don’t! Even if you have limited time, you can allocate your time wisely and do your best to stick to it. It’s good to have some fire under your butt, but don’t let it consume you. Maintain the flame and breathe. If you feel like you don’t know everything, you always know more than you think you do. In a pressurized environment like an exam room, you’ll be digging deep into your depository of information. And don’t be afraid to get creative with your answers! As long as you have reasons behind what you’re saying, you’ll be fine.
Are you freaking out that you’re not freaking out? Maybe you don’t have so much of a fire under your butt as a spark, and at the same time, you’re not too confident about your exams, so you’re freaking out about not being freaked out. That’s okay! Embrace the chill and take advantage of your chillness. You can think straight and make good choices because your brain isn’t fogged by excess stress.
Have you been hydrating? It’s too easy to become dehydrated and if you’re getting sleepy or you’re really thirsty, drink up! Try not to reach for the Red Bull or the coffee. Keep your blood vessels clean and clear so that your brain can do its best work without having to rely on chemicals in your body. Sometimes, thirst disguises itself as hunger, so if you’re feeling famished, try drinking some water first so that you’re not just dehydrated and you don’t overeat.
Have you eaten in the past three hours? When I’m in the zone, I almost always forget to eat, and before I know it, I haven’t eaten for 8 hours. Make sure you keep your body fuelled so your brain can keep going! I find that during revision period, I need to have a snack every 2 to 3 hours to keep my brain going. My snacks aren’t always healthy ones (love me some Star Mix), and snacks without much nutrition in them will actually make your brain tired and slow, so make sure you’re choosing good, wholesome foods to fuel that brainpower!
Even though you already ate, are you still feeling extremely tired or fatigued during the day? Take a nap or go to the gym! You either need to give in to the exhaustion and give your brain a break, or you just need a refreshing workout to get the blood flowing and those muscles working. I find that when my entire body feels really heavy and weighed-down, I need to rest, whereas when it’s just my brain that’s tired, I need to go to the gym.
If it’s evening or nighttime, are you feeling extremely tired or fatigued, and are fighting the urge to sleep? Firstly, looking at a screen for a long time will make you tired, so it could just be screen fatigue, which means it’s ‘fake’ fatigue – it’s not your body that needs to rest, it’s just your eyes! Otherwise, it is time to let your body rest for the night. If you fight the urge to sleep, you’ll pass the point of exhaustion and you’ll pay for it in the next few days. For me, it all started with one late night (coursework was submitted that night) and now I’m functioning on my own, personal, internal clock. In other words, my sleep cycle is completely messed up, so I start my day at 1pm and I take my time eating and getting ready, I make it in to uni for 5pm, and I usually stay until 2 or 3am every night. Don’t make the same mistake I did, and if it’s too late, try to fix it before exams start next week!
Have you been on your feet in the past hour? Studying all day, we end up sitting for hours and hours. Excessive sitting is thought to slow your metabolism, so stretch out your legs and stand up for a minute or two or take a walk around the study space you’re in before getting back into it. If you’re studying at home, maybe keep all your snacks in the kitchen so you have to walk to get to them.
Have you seen people today? Being sociable is part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle – especially during revision when you’re stressed out! Interacting with other people is a basic, intrinsic facet of human nature, so make sure you’re getting your daily fix. When you feel like you want to be alone, by all means, spend the day on your own, but make sure that doesn’t become the norm. It’s a pretty easy pattern to fall into for some people. You could make special dinner plans, or it can be as easy as sitting with a friend in the library for a few hours.
Do you feel like crap? Maybe start by taking a nice, long, hot shower. If you’re still not feeling great, go through the above questions and see if any of those help. Or, you can make an extra effort to look good – my policy is that the worse I’m feeling, the better I look. If you’re still not feeling better, you could be ill (if that wasn’t the first thing you thought of), so be mindful of how you treat your body, get lots of rest, and drink lots of water!
Have you been feeling extremely unproductive in the past few days? Don’t worry! Everyone is in the same boat as you. Your productivity will fluctuate and you’ll have days when you sit in the library for 8 hours straight and get a lot of work done, and the next day, you’ll have slept in until 1pm and not gotten any work done. Those are the days that might set you back, but it’s all a matter of mindset! Instead of beating yourself up over being unproductive, you can be productive in other ways, like cleaning your room, doing your laundry, or responding to emails and messages.
Have you taken a break? I like to take a break after every lecture I get through; essentially I take a 10-minute break for every 50 minutes of work. I like to take one day off a week from studying so that I don’t over-exert myself mentally. Recently, I took a 2-day break and went to Manchester. Because I knew I was going to Manchester, I worked hard in the few days leading up to the trip. Remember to take breathers regularly and be mindful of where your physical and mental limits are! Push your limits gently.
Remember: listen to your body and give in to what it wants. Your body usually craves something when it’s missing something; for example, when you’re craving something salty, chances are that you’re low on your daily sodium intake. Apply this mindset to your exhaustion during revision season and take good care of yourself!