From self-love to breathwork: Tips to take care of your well-being throughout exam season
Check out some expert-approved tips to help children navigate exam stress and embrace this exam season with intention, positivity and confidence.
February-March is the most gruelling time for school students as they gear up for their annual examinations. Studying till late at night, juggling extra classes with self-study and managing the expectations of parents and peers deeply impacts their mental health and wellbeing. According to a survey conducted in 2022 by NCERT, it was found that around 80% of students in classes 9-12 in India suffer from anxiety due to exams. The latest National Crime Records Bureau data shows that the percentage of suicides by students has sharply risen by 21.19 per cent since 2019. All these grim statistics point to just one thing – our children need our help. (Also read: Conquering exam stress: 6 ways to overcome brain fog and achieve academic success )
“Students unfortunately have conditioned their self-worth to their success. The fear of failure causes massive amounts of stress. Time management and planning are key to relieving stress and, most importantly, SOS practices for self-care to reduce stress and anxiety at the moment are crucial to deal with exam stress,” says Prakriti Poddar a mental health expert and Global Head, Mental Health and Wellbeing, RoundGlass. Being a mother of three young children, Poddar is familiar with exam routines and shared with HT Lifestyle the following tips to help children navigate exam stress and anxiety.
1. Practice self love and care: Give time to yourself. Prioritize your wellbeing by taking regular breaks, taking time out for yourself, surrounding yourself with positive people, adopting a healthy lifestyle and learning to say no to people and things that you are not comfortable with. When you love yourself fully, with all your shortcomings, you turn into the best version of yourself. This helps you perform better and live with greater happiness.
2. Focus on breath: Focusing on your breath can immediately take your focus away from stressful and anxious thoughts. When you can feel the stress or anxiety creeping up, do this a few times to immediately feel better:
- Inhale to a count of 4
- Hold your breath in for a count of 4
- Exhale to a count of 4
- Hold your breath out for a count of 4
3. Be on the move: The growing dependence of children on devices and technology, especially social media, has reduced their physical activity impacting their mental wellbeing. Introduce movement to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing. Be it yoga, running, playing a sport or just a rejuvenating walk, motivate your child to put on a pair of sneakers and move to experience greater joy and health.
4. Listen to music: Research shows that listening to music, reduces our stress response. When you are feeling anxious about tomorrow’s exam, plug into some soothing music to calm your mind. Scientists have found Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed instruments, drums, and flutes are effective in relaxing frayed nerves. And tune in to sleep music before going to bed for a restful sleep before your exam.
“Additionally, parents and guardians should ensure that they are emotionally available to their children in order to help them deal with challenges of exam stress,” says Poddar.
Embrace this exam season with intention, positivity and confidence and remember, it is not the end of the world but just one of the many challenges that you will face while growing up.