If you are in the last years of high school, you are undoubtedly coming to the realisation that they will be some of the best and worst times of your life. When I say ‘worst’, I am of course referring to your year twelve exams.
As a seasoned expert on exams and stress, I feel it is my duty to pass on these three handy hints that really helped me get through my last years of high school in one piece.
Create balance –
Ensure you get in a good routine with your study. Try to set aside at least two hours every night for study to ensure you are keeping on top of all your work. Having said that, make sure you aren’t studying too late at night. It is essential to get a good sleep every night so your brain functions well during the day. A good way of ensuring that you maintain balance between study, sleeping, and having a social life is to write up a weekly timetable. Include studying for each of your subjects, leisure activities, seeing friends, spending time with family, and any other things you do, such as playing sport. Highlight each activity with different colours and be creative with your lay-out. It might sound really nerdy, but it makes the whole process a lot more fun. Why do you think kindergarten was so stress-free?
Healthy body, healthy mind –
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout your final years of high school. Sure, it can seem tempting to reach for the processed sugar when you feel like you’re running on empty. Sure, you might feel as though skipping a work-out will mean you can study for longer. But there is no substitute for eating healthy and exercising regularly. Start by writing up a shopping list filled with brain foods. These include blueberries, fish, wholegrains, nuts, eggs and dark chocolate. It is also a good idea to start taking a vitamin supplement if you aren’t already. Always check with a health care professional before you start taking anything new, but popular vitamins for anxiety relief and mental acuity include vitamins B, C and E, fish oil and St John’s wort. Too often, exercise takes a back seat when we’ve got something important going on in our lives. But even just a short twenty-minute walk can help stimulate your blood flow and clear your mind. These are great healthy habits to get into, and you will find you have a lot more energy during the day.
Have something to look forward to –
Having an end point in mind when you are entering a stressful time in your life can help keep you motivated. Whether you are looking forward to starting your university degree, taking a gap year, or are just really pumped for Schoolies, keeping your goals in mind is a really great way to help you stay on track during intense study periods and keep you from stressing out too much. Some people like to write down their goal ATAR score and put it somewhere they will see it every day, such as on their mirror. Others like to have a Schoolies count-down in their phone calendar. You just need to find a technique that will help motivate you. It will remind you that there is a world outside of school and study, and help you keep perspective on what it is you are working towards.
So try and keep your head down because if you stay focussed and work hard, you will see results. And it won’t be long until you are free to enjoy an anxiety-free summer spending time with friends, going to festivals, hanging out on the beach, and being exhausted for all the fun reasons!