HOW ARE YOU? - 'Managing Exam Stress'

Managing Exam Stress
Exam stress.  This is an aspect of our lives that we are all familiar with, some more-so than others. However, I’m sure that we can all think of a time when we have been stressed for our exams, so how do we manage this? 
Stress is normal, particularly regarding exams as it shows that we care and want to do our best however, it is important for us to manage this stress in a healthy way that benefits our physical and mental health!
For me, I have always been a worrier, even before I had completed any exams!  Whenever I completed my A-level exams, I reached out to my teachers who organised for me to chat to a counsellor.  I was able to explore different ways to manage my stress and anxiety, which have helped me with various exams since!
When revising for an exam, I really value my daily routine as it helps to outline what I am doing for the day.  It allows me to complete my revision and then close my books for the day, taking away the stress of last minute cramming!  I love making a revision timetable for myself; setting achievable goals for each day and once these are completed; I am able to close my books and enjoy my evening.  I find it important to carve time out of my day to do something I enjoy such as spending time with God, going on a walk or seeing my friends.
I often struggle with feeling guilty for not revising at all times.  However, I found that creating a safe space to revise helps me to separate revision from everyday life allowing me to spend some time doing my own thing.  A big tip I could give you is do not revise on your bed!  If you have resources available to you, I would definitely revise at a desk, at the kitchen table or even in the library.  Your bed is your space to relax, rather than becoming your workplace.  It is so important to draw the line between where you work and where you rest.  For me, this is not revising in my room at all!  I love going to the library as I can come home feeling content with the amount of work that I have done. 
A verse that has always helped me through my exams is Philippians 4:6 “Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”  How special is it that we have God to turn to in times of need!  I find it so comforting to know that He knows what we are going through and that He has a plan for us therefore.  It is important to remember that we can only do the best we can and the rest is in God’s hands, how amazing!!
Trusting in God does not mean that we don’t have to work hard for our exams; however we can find comfort and trust in the Lord and His plan, knowing that we always have His eternal love.  No matter what our grades are, we are not defined by our grades!  No matter what you achieve in your exams, you can find comfort knowing that you tried your best and that you are the best version of yourself that is all that matters.  1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” God knows what we are going through and He is there for us, reach out to Him in times of need!
I would like to leave you with some of my favourite ways to manage stress; they may not be for everyone but have a go! You never know what may work for you:
◦ Balance work and home
◦ Read a book
◦ Devote time to God
◦ Go for a walk
◦ Eat well (you deserve some treats too,  my favourite is chocolate) 
◦ Meet up with your friends 
◦ Listen to your favourite music
◦ Sleep well
◦ Practice breathing exercises 
◦ Talk to teachers, friends, family, find trust in people who you can chat too!
I would like to finish by reminding you not to take God out of your life due to exams.  If there is something good that you have read, thank Him for it!  If you feel that, you are struggling, reach out to Him or even members of your church family.  What a great way to be a testimony to show how good God is by sharing His love and support for us with our friends.  Remind them that God loves them and is there for them throughout everything.
You are much more than your grades, believe in yourself, “Faith can move mountains,” Matthew 17:20. 

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