8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress

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8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress

The exam season is upon us. Being a parent myself and consulting clients across the world who also happen to be parents, here’s something I have learned. Exam fever and stress affect children and are equally draining for parents too. Here are a few tips for both to handle this situation better. We hope to encourage you to look forward to the exams with motivation instead of anxiety, all while maintaining a peaceful and wholesome environment at home.

1. Create a timetable

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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By having a systematic timetable, based on the requirement of their exam schedule, you can divide studies in an efficient way. Not only this, but you should also plan their breaks – which are as important as the studies. Children are too young to handle the stress, and they need breaks even while preparing for their board exams. Only when their brain is well rested, do their memory and grasping power increase.

2. Avoid junk food and chocolates

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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Avoid feeding children junk food and chocolates when they need to study, as this food is rich in salt and sugar. After eating this, their brain gets excited and emits a rush of energy for 15-20 minutes. This sudden rise in energy is usually followed by an abrupt crash in energy, leading to sluggishness and hunger – what is popularly known as brain fog. This reduces the child’s capacity to focus, consequently decreasing grasping power.

3. Eat fresh, homemade food

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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Stick to freshly cooked, balanced, and wholesome meals. At this point when children are required to pour all of their concentration and energy into their studies, nutritious homemade food would be the best option. You must make sure that there is a protein in every meal, as I say that protein supports many functions in the body.

4. Eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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As per scientific research, Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain development, hence eating foods rich in them, while the brain is absorbing so much information, would benefit the child. Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and so on, are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Even 1 tbsp 2 to 3 times daily of pure coconut oil or olive oil which can be added to food preparations, salad dressings, and so on could be beneficial.

5. Encourage a good night’s sleep

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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Sleeping well while studying so much helps with concentration. Children will be better able to grasp what they have studied previously too. Let your child decide when he/she likes to study. If they prefer the early hours of the morning, make sure they sleep early at night and get a good 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This will help them perform better, and be energized the whole day. Sleep deprivation affects the energy levels of an adult, so imagine what it could do to a child.

6. Water intake at optimum

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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As I have mentioned before, water is the most important element for our bodies. Even a bare minimum drop in the water content of their bodies will affect their memory, and their ability to stay alert. The brain, the circulatory and lymphatic systems, all require water to function well. Keep a jug of water at their desk, and encourage them to drink water often. You can also add a slice of lemon, making the water alkaline, and adding some flavor to it.

7. Promote deep breathing

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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In stressful situations, sometimes taking a break and taking a few deep breaths help with centering, and grounding yourself helps us. Teach your child the importance of this even during their boards. It reduces stress levels and pressure too, as you are taking a moment of peace during so much stress. I am not asking you to force your child to meditate, but only five minutes in the morning, or in between their studies, will help them stabilize their thoughts and get clarity.

8. Health is wealth

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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It is important to remember that a child can experience as much stress as an adult. At this point, as adults, it is important for us to remember that grades, performance, and everything is secondary, in comparison to our children’s health. Your child’s well-being and life are the most important in the world.

How does stress affect a child?

Stress produces a hormone in the body – cortisol. During a stressful event cortisol levels rise, and after the stressful event is over, cortisol levels normalize. If this occurs once in a while, it is good for the immune system, so there is no harm in occasional stress. But if one is constantly stressed, and the cortisol levels rise, and remain high – this is problematic.

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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High cortisol levels lead to inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural response of your immune system. But your body must know when to switch it on and off. For instance, if you are wounded, the affected part of your body swells up due to inflammation. This controls the infection or bacteria from spreading to other parts of the body. Once your wound is healed, the inflammation settles down. But constantly rising cortisol levels lead to increased inflammation in the system. Chronic inflammation is the leading cause of most lifestyle and health conditions today.

So think of a child, not sleeping well, waking up early for school, not eating a nutritious breakfast, dealing with the stresses of school, extracurricular activities, tuition, homework, classes, and exams, and then coming home to a stressed-out environment.

A home, especially for a child, needs to be a safe haven, a place of respite and recovery, and as parents, it is your duty to create this wholesome safe space.

My message to parents:

Dear parents, firstly, allow me to bring to your notice that children are rarely ever stressed about their exams. Perhaps they could be mildly stressed, but not stressed like the adults around them. As parents, your anxieties and stresses cause a stir in your home environment, which rubs off onto your children. This fills them with fear and anxiety, leaving them unable to study.

8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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Try these tips to make this tedious time span easy for your children

  • Resort to positive reinforcement and encouragement, instead of negative reinforcement and criticism.
  • Stability and sturdiness at home will encourage your children to be fearless and study better.
  • Don’t compare your child’s journey with another child’s. This will lead your child to grow into a person who has constant self-doubt and low self-esteem.
  • Appreciate and talk positively about your child’s uniqueness.
8 Tips To Handle And Conquer Exam Stress
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  • Don’t shout or yell at your child for having given a bad exam paper, which leads to over-discussing the mistakes they made. Acknowledge that the child has other subjects to prepare for and accept that what is done is done.
  • Don’t name-call or label your child. Calling your child stupid, dumb or useless will make the child believe that about themselves.
  • Don’t exhibit your anxiety in the form of anger toward your child. Shouting and yelling will demotivate the child and feel less sure about themselves.
  • Relinquish your attachment to the result of your child’s board exam. Attach yourself to your child’s well-being and success in the future.
  • Be present for your children by supporting them, and most importantly believe in your child!

And for my dear children, don’t worry, you might feel like this is the first real challenge in your life, but just like in the future, if you are prepared to face and solve a problem, you will always find the way. If you are relaxed, you will always find the solutions, as compared to always being anxious and approaching your exams.

Struggling to get your little one to eat healthy?

You can approach our team which specializes in handling balanced nutrition for children from ages 1-16.

Know more about our Balanced Nutrition for Children Program here.

If you are looking for personal assistance in dealing with anxieties or problems, you can book a one-on-one appointment with a Holistic Life Coach here.

You can get in touch with our MPower therapists at 18001020253, connect with us on Whatsapp here, or mail us at info@lukecoutinho.com for more information.


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Comment (1)

  • Chaya Reply

    Thank you so much for this timely vital post.
    Greatly appreciate your concern.
    Deep Regards,

    January 18, 2023 at 7:30 pm

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