How to look after your mental health and physical wellbeing during stressful exam periods
By Brigitte Whyte
Mental health and wellbeing is about more than not feeling sad or stressed. It’s about feeling optimistic, confident, connected to others and generally happy with your life. It’s also about managing stress effectively and being able to manage any negative emotions you experience without them having a negative impact on the rest of your life. If you’re currently in your final year of university or have LPC or SQE exams coming up, you may be experiencing extreme stress that can have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing. We are also committed to reduce student stress by finding the root cause and providing you with clear guidance and targeted study guides. There are also many things you can do as an individual or within group settings to look after your health during this time.
How our guides can help reduce your exam stress
Our study guides are simple and focus on what’s important. This reduces the time and energy it takes to learn each legal concept and reduces your stress by giving you an explanation on what to expect. Being prepared and having a clear structure is key in maintaining mental wellbeing during exam periods and will also make sure that you succeed in your journey to becoming a solicitor.
While many other legal education providers struggle to implement better systems that can help student experience, we aim to make sure that your stress levels are reduced at the source, first and foremost. It is always better to be strategic about your next step, and this is even more important when going through higher education. Strategic planning and getting reliable information about your exams and education provider is key.
Stay physically active
Exercise is a great way to manage stress, improve your mental wellbeing and reduce the risk of developing mental health issues in the long term. Physical activity can help you reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and depression by promoting endorphin production and increasing blood flow to the brain. Additionally, exercise has also been shown to help improve sleep quality and reduce feelings of fatigue. If you're feeling stressed, there's nothing wrong with doing some yoga, taking a walk outside or even going for a run. Do whatever you have the energy for. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and can even help you sleep better at night. However, it’s important to keep your physical activity within an “active range” - that is, engaging in physical activity that is challenging but not so challenging that it causes excessive stress to your body. At the same time, if you’re not feeling it, you can go for a simple walk or just make sure that you move around in the house. Small bursts of activity can also be incredibly effective in managing stress levels.
Know your limits and set boundaries
Sometimes you may be expected to be doing too much, and this becomes even more difficult to get around when faced with the uncertainties of finding work within the legal profession. However, it’s important to know your limits and be aware of what’s realistic for you. If you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to reach out for help before you reach a breaking point. You may not want to talk to your parents or friends about what’s going on, but you can always contact a helpline or seek therapy.
A good diet supports healthy brain function, mood and can even help with regulating sleeping patterns. Eating fatty fish, avocados, berries, turmeric, almonds and seaweed has been shown to improve mood and mental wellbeing. You may also want to consider avoiding caffeine, sugar, dairy and gluten if you notice that these foods are triggering negative reactions in you.
Talk to people who care about you
It’s important to reach out to people who care about you, such as your parents and friends, when you’re feeling stressed. You don’t have to go through this alone. Caring people who are able to listen to you can help you process what you’re feeling and think about the situation from a different perspective. They can also help you come up with ways to reduce the stress in your life and provide you with encouragement.
If you’re feeling stressed during exam periods, remember that this doesn’t last forever. Make sure that you have a strategic exam plan in place ahead of time and know what is expected of you. Focus on taking care of yourself during this time and prioritising self-care practices such as getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. You’re more than capable of getting through this and taking care of your mental health and wellbeing.