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5 June 2021

How to look after yourself during exams

Exams kick off next week (Monday 7 to Friday 18 June), and there’s no doubt it can be a super stressful and intense time. Even if you feel as academically prepared as possible, it’s still important for you to look after your wellbeing during this period, especially given the recent escalation of COVID-19 restrictions.

We encourage you to find time every day for things that bring you joy and make you feel your best. How you do this is completely up to you! You might like nothing better than going for a long, punishing run, while your friend might prefer lying on the couch reading. Pick what works for you – and don’t feel you have to explain or justify it to anyone else!

You could also try these simple self-care tips to help get you through exams. And don’t forget that there’s more to life than grades, so be kind to yourself no matter how you perform in your assessments.

Get proper sleep

Prioritise your sleep over the next few weeks with a regular bedtime routine – and switch off your devices at least an hour before bed for a more restful sleep.

Help your mind to relax

Meditation can have a very positive impact on your wellbeing. You don’t have to meditate for hours to see results – just take 10 minutes to sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing. Try to be aware of how your body moves when you breathe naturally. Doing this once a day is a great way to get into the practice of meditation.

There’s a variety of meditation and mindfulness apps available – check out Beyond Blue for some helpful information or try some guided meditation from a Deakin counsellor

Make time for exercise

There’s plenty of ways you can fit exercise around your studies. Just getting up every hour and strolling around your house or taking the dog for a walk will go a long way. Next time you take a break, try something from this list of stretches you can do at your desk and see how you feel.

If you’re looking to increase your fitness, you might want to try the Couch to 5k app (Apple or Android) or the PROOF fitness app (Apple or Android). You can also download DeakinMOVES, an app that lets you set goals and commit to challenges in a supportive online space.

Feed your brain

Eating the right kind of food can give you added brain power and increase your energy levels. Research shows a link between diet and mental health, so it’s important to eat healthy food during stressful situations like studying for exams or completing assessments.

When you’re studying, it’s a good idea to eat foods that help with brain function and resist the urge to mindlessly snack. Work a few brain-food recipes into your diet and eat food with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – such as fish, nuts and seeds.

Reach out for support

Need some guidance on how to start putting yourself first? This self-care planning fact sheet and template from the Black Dog Institute outlines some simple steps to get you in a good headspace.

Deakin also provides a lot of services and resources to help you manage your wellbeing. If you need some support:

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