During this time of year, families are revving up for school exams. This can be a very stressful time for old and young alike as students attempt to stay in to study and prepare for the final tests and assignments before the scholastic year ends. Consequently, kids seem to be more at home and the ‘studying, eating, sleeping’ cycle can become very anxiety provoking both for parents and those facing exams. How can we remain physically and mentally healthy during this time of year? Is it at all possible?

Eat well

Eating a balanced diet full of fruit, vegetables and grains is very important during this time of year. However, when under stress we tend to snack on high calorie items that are full of sugar and can cause an energy slump later on. It is also extremely important to keep well hydrated. Adding cucumber, lemon or mint to our water and chilling it adds flavour and can help us drink more.

Move around…

Sitting for hours on end in front of a computer or slouched on a desk can cause chronic back pain. Move around. Stand up and do some exercise on the hour. If you enjoy doing a sport do not give it up. Physical exercise releases endorphins and this can help you get back to work feeling more energetic and with a fresher mind-set.

Keep the stress levels under control

Breathe and put exam time into perspective (this applies to parents as well ☺). Be focused and try and study for 40-50 minutes at a time and then take a short break. Do something you enjoy for 10 minutes then continue with your work. If you feel it helps, keep a journal and write your thoughts and frustrations that you might be going through. Plan fun activities to do after the exams are over so that you’ll have something positive to look forward to.

Plan ahead

Start studying now. Calculate how many weeks you have left and set a timetable that includes rest and exercise and being with family and friends at least for two hours a week. Life does not stop during exams, it just becomes more focused on studying and working hard to be successful. Be realistic and work hard to reach your potential. And parents please don’t be too hard on your kids during exam time. Now, more than ever, they need to know that you’ll love and support them through thick and thin.

Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on anna@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.