Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Exams
Exams are everywhere at the moment and it can be a really difficult time for some of you. Meic is here to help by publishing lots of helpful information over the next few weeks to help you prepare and cope. If you’re finding it really hard to cope then you can contact Meic on the details at the bottom of this article.
(This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg, clicia yma)
When it comes to exam stress and mental health, talking is really important. Youth mental health awareness campaign All My Strength wrote a blog on the subject for us a couple of years back, and the advice is still relevant today:
The exam period is a peak time for feelings of panic and stress. It’s really important to take some time to check in with ourselves and the people around us. Exams are important but our mental health is more important.
Talking it out
Talking is important for stress relief. Take some time out from revision to talk to friends about how you’re coping. Venting with people in the same position as you is a really good way to get rid of pent-up frustration. Share your strategies for stress relief and staying calm. Let your friends know that you’re there to talk if they feel like the stress and nerves are getting the better of them. Let people know that you’re rooting for them!
Exam stress is normal
When it seems like everyone is stressed and exhausted, it easy to forget that people suffering from chronic anxiety are dealing with something completely different from these short-lived feelings that most people feel during exams. For this reason, it becomes a time when it is easy for mental illness to slip under the radar. It is important not to compare exam stress to anxiety as a mental illness. They are definitely not the same thing. If you’re suffering from exam stress, your feelings are normal and you’re still doing okay.
Separating mental illness from stress
For mental health professionals and support workers, mental illness should still be a priority and needs to be acknowledged separately from exam stress. It can be extremely frustrating and even undermining for a young person with a serious mental health condition to be sharing the long waiting lists to see doctors and counsellors with people who’s stresses will pass as soon as the exam period is over.
It is equally frustrating and undermining to tell a young person with anxiety that their uncontrollable negative thoughts are a result of exam stress. Some people are at risk and cannot afford to have their support networks compromised.
Take some time to talk, remember that exam stress is temporary but don’t let your mental health go under the radar because of it!
If you’re worried about your mental health, or feeling stressed or anxious, and want to know where you can search for support, then contact Meic. We can help you to reach the help that you need. For further advice and information talk to one of our friendly advisors.
Meic is an information and advocacy helpline for children and young people aged 0-25 in Wales. We are open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact us free on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.