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Post exams? Time to unwind

Thursday 2 July 2015

As most of you will have finished your exams and assignments by now, here are some tips from Advice and Counselling for winding down post exams…

Immediately after an exam, talking with other students about the content and how you found it can be a bit of mixed blessing. Sometimes someone else will have struggled with something you found difficult too, which can feel reassuring, other times it feels like everyone else thought it was fine and you’re the only one who found it tough, or you may have found it pretty straightforward whilst others were baffled and this can create anxiety too. Try to remember that people work, learn and understand in different ways and try not to get swept up in too feverish a debate. Remind yourself that you’ve finished it now and there is nothing you can do to control what happens after this point, so try to relax. If you know talking about it afterwards will stress you out, try and take yourself away from others who find it helpful to go through it blow by blow.

If you’ve been studying in a specific spot in your room you can now tidy it up!  No more piles of books, post its, revision schedules, etc. Take a before and after snap to remind yourself you’ve survived this stressful period! Tidying may seem like a trivial matter but most of us do genuinely feel calmer in a calm environment.

If you’ve been stuck indoors revising a lot, this could be a great time to go for a walk and notice what’s going on around you in nature and the wider world. Mile End has some great outdoor spots to explore; you could take a walk to Vicky Park along the canal, explore the Green Bridge and Ecopark or check out Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park – they’re all on our doorstep!

You can find a few further tips below. Working out what works best for you and learning from past mistakes if you’ve done things which haven’t helped is always useful and if you’re not sure, talking about it with others will probably help you to de-stress and feel less isolated anyway.

1. Catch up time
Social time with friends and family can be a perfect solution for a post-exam wind-down, especially if you’ve been forced to curb your socialising in order to focus on work. If there are those you’ve been meaning to catch up with, do so now. You’ll feel better for it and, with the improved weather now’s a great time for meeting up outside too.

2. Do something you’ve been putting off
You may notice that you’ve been putting off activities or tasks that take up your time for a while. Now that studying is over, you can spend some time on ‘feel good’ activities. You could read a novel for fun or treat yourself to a box set or DVD or two as well as ticking off some stuff on your to-do list. If you don’t have one, now could be the time to make one!

3. Exercise
Being physically active is a great way to wind down and relax after your exams. Experts say that exercising is a great way to relieve stress and boost positivity as following exercise endorphins and serotonin (‘happy hormones’) are released in the brain. Getting out of breath and raising you heartbeat can really help release tension and give you a renewed sense of energy. Remember there are many different ways to exercise, there’s something for everyone: yoga, Pilates, walking, swimming or stretching/breathing can all help to distress – it doesn’t have to be running or Zumba!

4. Try something new
Studying throughout the academic year can be quite exhausting. If you haven’t had a chance to change your routine or discover new interests, for a while, now could be the time to explore your options. Put your exams behind you and try something completely different! Get involved in a new sport, learn to bake or swim, see a new band or show, or do something that you’ve never done before!

5. Go away
Getting out of the city can be a wonderful way to relax and unwind. Now that exams are over, make an effort to get out of London whether on a day trip or a holiday, even if it’s just for a weekend visiting a friend. If you can’t get away for a proper holiday, there are some great day trips – did you know you can get to Epping Forest on the tube? And if you’re a Tower Hamlets resident, you get can into the Tower of London for £1!

6. Reduce the pressure.
Winding down can be tough after exams finish if you’re constantly worrying about how you did. Some students have quite a wait before they find out results so it’s important to find ways to chill out. In addition to engaging in the above activitiesdo remember that you cannot change the outcome at this point and the university has excellent support systems if you haven’t done as well as you hoped. Speak to your department, make an appointment with your Student Support Officer, or contact Advice & Counselling if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help.

Whatever works for you, don’t forget to give yourself that much-deserved pat on the back – exams are over! Now go have some fun!

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