Monday, May 13, 2013

How To: De-stress and Keep Focused

The month of May is once again upon us and revision has upped all of our stress levels. So to try and keep us all relatively calm and focused, I've put together some top tips which hopefully will help to keep everyone refreshed and feeling productive!

1. Go for a walk
This is also a great excuse to get out into the lovely weather we have been having at the moment! If you're feeling tired, exposing yourself to a little Vit D will help re-charge your batteries. Sunshine will stop the production of the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for feelings of lethargy. So even if you are working in the library or the office, grab the spot by the window! Taking a walk will also help to refresh you if you've come face to face with that mental block.

2. Eat right
During revision, it is ever so tempting to snack, snack, snack and keep our energy levels up - I am a massive culprit for this and will always take a trip down to the vender when I'm struggling! However, it has been proved that maintaining a balanced diet can help to improve your concentration. Although it weighs only 2% of your total body weight, the brain uses a massive 20% of body energy when at rest. This energy chiefly comes from glucose, which we obtain from carbohydrate rich foods like breads and pasta. Also, during exam time especially, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and will re-fuel you in preparation for a good mornings work. Skipping meals can sometimes add to stress, so try and keep in the routine of three meals a day and eat your way (healthily) to exam success!

3. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead and making a 'to-do list, really helps you channel your energy and focus into the task in hand. I would really recommend timetabling your revision to structure your day and provide you with some sort of mental clarity. You will also feel a great sense of a achievement, crossing something of the list!

4. Exercise
Exercise is a great revision break and also proven up your mood. Even just stretching will increase blood flow to your brain and limbs and promote concentration. However limit yourself, as sometimes intense exercise can amplify stress, so take it a bit easy.

5. Pucker Up!
Kissing has been proved to combat isolation, which is one of the feelings that can arise with stress. Amongst women in particular, kissing releases endorphins which will keep us feeling happy and hopefully maintain our motivation! A kiss a day could keep the stress away!

6. Turn Up The Music
Having a break and singing along to some of your favourite tunes, will release these same 'happy' chemicals as kissing and increase your positivity.

7. Drink Water
Drinking water will prevent dehydration, which tends to lead to those dreaded revision headaches and feeling groggy. A recent study in London has shown that even feeling a little thirsty, can decrease your productivity as much as 10%! Water is better to drink than coffee but if you'd rather have something a little more exciting, try a herbal tea or a slice of lemon in hot water - drinking this first thing in the morning also helps to flush harmful toxins out of the body.

8. Turn Off Your Phone
In the modern world we live in, there are so many distractions. To try and stop those all to familiar moments of procrastination, switch off your phone for a while. These exams only come around once and this out-of-sight, out-of-mind tactic really works!

9. Take A Break
If you're feeling tired, don't think that you need to sleep to rest-up! A simple exercise that I have been taught, really helps to alleviate tension. Keeping both feet firmly on the floor and shoulder width apart, stack your forearms on the desk in front of you and shuffle your chair back to extend your spine. Rest your head on your hands for a few minutes and listen to some calming music. This is super-refreshing and I always come out of the stretch feeling more positive.

Good luck with all your exams!

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