Food & Lifestyle Blog

Thursday, 14 May 2015

How to cope with exam stress

Exam season = stress. Depending on how you react, this could mean sleepless nights, constant tiredness, anxiety attacks, poor appetite, emotional eating, headaches and negative mindsets.

Here are my top tips to help you cope with stress around this time of year.

1. Nutrition

Fuel your brain as well as your body. A balanced diet is the key to optimal cognitive functioning. 60% of your brain is fat, so be sure to consume lots of Omega 3's, such as avocado, salmon, nuts, flax seeds and chia seeds.

Protein contains amino acids, which are vital for brain functioning. Some of the best sources include meat, chicken, fish, lentils, beans, quinoa, oats, nuts and chickpeas.

Carbohydrates give you energy. Ideally go for wholegrains, pulses, fruit and vegetables - there's a reason marathon-runners are known to have a pre-race banana!

Vitamins and minerals are crucual, particularly iron, vitamin B and zinc for preventing tiredness, and can be obtained from kale, spinach, red meat and lentils.

In addition, beware that too much sugar and processed foods will make you feel tired and sick, cause energy highs and lows and even insomnia!

2. Hydration

The average human body is made up of well over 50% water, the brain being about 85% water! It is obvious that dehydration will severely impact your ability to focus. 

I start the day by drinking 1 litre of water, and  carry a bottle of water with me to sip on throughout the day, which I like to infuse with slices of lemon and cucumber for a refreshing taste. I also drink plenty of green tea and peppermint tea, but avoid coffee as too much caffeine can make me feel jittery. 

3. Exercise

When you're busy and stressed, it's understandable that you might not want to exercise - but nothing de-stresses the mind faster than physical activity, so try to find a way to build it into your timetable. Exercise is great for helping you concentrate and it's also a real mood booster, plus it makes you sleep better! Being stuck indoors all day is not fun, so go for a walk outdoors and soak up some vitamin D!

4. Socialising

You can't spend the entire month of exam season locked away in your room studying! Plan your breaks and give yourself some time off and enjoy life! Having that balance makes a real difference to your wellbeing and stops you feeling depressed and isolated. Why not combine revision with socialising? You could form study groups where you can share notes and motivate each other!

Keep things in perspective and stay positive - it is possible to survive exams and there is life after exams - just think how great summer is going to be!

Good luck!



  1. This came along just at the right time! Thank you! Love your blog layout x

    1. Thanks - I'm so glad it was helpful for you!


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