Dealing with exam stress is not difficult. Right preparation for the exams is the primary step, being confident about is another and being positive about the outcome is the most important factor. Many children and parents face exam stress because of the fear of performance and of the results.
This often results from lack of self-confidence or over expectations and pressure to excel in the exams. Parents can help their children by being supportive during preparations and their exams.
Children look upon their parents for inspiration and much of their emotional status depends on parental support. As role models, parents too must deal with their stress and help their children handle exam stress effectively.
Being ambitious is good, but the best approach is of positive reinforcement without being pressurised. Exam stress is a common occurrence, but if know the symptoms of stress during exams, you can deal with it in a better way.
According to Dr Snehal Singh, Lifestyle Management Consultant, Healthians, some exam stress symptoms include:
- Headaches and migraine
- Muscle tension and body pain
- Appetite changes, abdominal pain
- Constipation or loose motions
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased irritability and mood swings
- Inability to concentrate
These are just a few common ones. But when they continue for long, they can cause trouble and affect the exam performance too. Rapid heartbeats, shallow breathing, and sweaty hands are acute symptoms of stress, often seen during the board exams.
As parents, you can watch out for such signs and help your children relieve their stress. Parents can take an active involvement in their preparation and guide them, where needed.
A constructive and assertive parent can bring up a positive and confident child. Avoid comparing your children with other kids. Every child is different and has a unique way of learning. So, appreciate your child's abilities and encourage them to excel in their way.
Special tips for students:
- The first step is to plan exam preparation and then to have stress management plan during the exams. Get to know the exam pattern and be aware of the type of questions that would be asked. It would make you feel confident and help in proper planning.
- Use resources effectively, get expert advice wherever you have doubts. Practice daily and have regular revisions. Manage your time effectively and follow your study timetable and a healthy routine.
- Pay attention to your body signals, take rest when needed. Avoid discussing answers after the exam is over. It has gone anyways, so don't let your mood get affected. Focus on the next paper instead.
- Although exams call for a lot of revision, exam time relaxation is also necessary. Continuous studies and stress can cause exhaustion and fatigue, while some relaxation allows their mind to unwind. You can choose your way of relaxation during exams.
- Take regular breaks and enjoy your hobbies. Relax your muscles, perform stretches and exercise daily. Practice deep breathing daily and get healthy, restful sleep. Remember, adequate sleep and relaxation improve memory and concentration, thus boosts overall performance.
Diet tips to cope with exam stress:
The demand for certain vitamins and minerals increases in exam stress, hence a healthy diet is essential.
- Include whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, in your diet. A diet rich in proteins is necessary to stay fit. So, take high proteins like sprouts, pulses, eggs, fish and lean meat.
- Foods rich in omega-3- fatty acids can boost memory, improve attention and keep children fit. Some of the rich sources of these are walnuts, almonds, sunflower, watermelon and flaxseeds and fatty fish like Mackerel, Salmon, and Tuna.
- Eat healthy foods and at regular intervals to support good health.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water and carry water when you go out. Avoid sugary drinks and caffeinated beverages, instead take coconut water, buttermilk, and fresh fruit juices.