By Mr Mike Meadowcroft | Posted: Thursday November 10, 2016
Study and exam periods can be stressful for all of us, no matter what age we are. Young people are still working on building resilience – it can feel like their whole future is destined by the results of just one exam – so it’s not surprising that it’s a stressful period.
Brushing aside their concerns by saying things
like, “it will be okay”, or suggesting there is “no need to stress” aren’t
always helpful. Instead try things like “it sounds like its pretty overwhelming
at the moment. What can I do right now that would be helpful?” to validate how
they feel, and offer support.
Tips to support a young person over the study and exam period:
Support them to eat well:
It's quite normal for a young person to have moments of panic in an exam, or suddenly feel completely blank. The following activity takes only 20-30 seconds and it can completely reverse the panic cycle. Try it with your young person before they go into an exam so that it will feel natural and easy to do when needed.
Once you start to panic, notice your breathing. Often it has become quick and shallow. Feel for your pulse on your wrist – its located two-finger width below the base of your thumb, and slowly count to 20. In this time focus on breathing slowly and deeply. Tell yourself, “I’ve got this, I’m going to be fine” and continue to breathe deeply until the panic feelings subside or you can reflect clearly on the exam in front of you. Repeat as and when necessary.
Students - Have some compassion
For yourself. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, or to go through periods when coping is more difficult. But what we do know is that there are things you can do to ensure the impact is lessened, or the time you spend climbing back up the ladder of life is shorter.
Try one of these three easy ways to show yourself some love.