Managing Stress during Exam Season
Exam season is in full swing and after the difficult past two years it's likely that feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are high for many – kids and parents alike.
Reflexology, Reiki and Craniosacral Therapy can give you a little space to allow the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in (our rest and digest mode), lowering stress hormones, boosting endorphins and giving your body and brain the rest it needs to concentrate and be on top form.
All our practitioners treat children and teens but if your child is resistant to booking in for a treatment, try giving them a relaxing foot rub or head massage when they get stressed out and suggest these other activities that might help...
Move – physical activity is one of the most effective stress busters. Go for a walk, have a dance, try running or yoga, walk the dog, go to the park and PLAY! Getting on a swing feels really good.
Get enough sleep – your body recovers and repairs itself, it improves your memory, and improves your mood. Turn screens off at least 30 minutes before lights out. Blue light from screens prevents the brain from releasing melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep / wake cycle. If the sleep hormone melatonin is low it’s harder for us to fall and stay asleep.
Have fun – give yourself a break and do something fun. Whatever that may be. Watch a comedy, read a funny book or watch silly cat videos on YouTube. Anything that makes you laugh. Laughing decreases stress hormones and boosts the immune system to stop you getting poorly. Laughter triggers endorphins, the body’s natural feel good chemicals which improve wellbeing and even temporarily relieve pain.
Talk through your worries – with a friend, parent, sibling, teacher or anyone you feel you can open up to. Don’t keep troubles to yourself as talking definitely helps and others can help put things into perspective, help you see clearer or understand better and also releases tension.
Deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation – reduce stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health and lengthens attentions span. The Headspace app is a good place to start. Or stroke a cat or a dog - this also releases happy hormones!
Eat well – maintaining your blood sugar levels and eating well, improves your mood, gives you energy and helps you think more clearly.
Drink up – stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to help you concentrate with a clear head. It also keeps your gut healthy! Many essential neurotransmitters are produced in the gut, and an unhappy tummy can lead to an unhappy mind.
Ditch the caffeine – although drinks such as tea, coffee, energy drinks and coke might give you an energy hit, they can leave you feeling anxious and disturb sleep if you drink too much. Opt for water, squash or fruit teas instead.
Take a dip – having a bath can reset your mood and chill you out. It can also provide a space to calm down, de-stress and also help you sleep.
Listen to music!
Hug someone - it releases the happy hormone oxytocin .
Try some progressive muscle relaxation – this involves focusing on different muscle groups, tightening them the relaxing. Start at your feet and work your way up your body, clenching as you breathe in and relaxing as you breathe out.
Just do your best…we’re all rooting for you!
Websites you might find useful if you’re finding things a bit tough:
www.youngminds.org.uk www.headspace.com www.mindfulnessforteens.com
And don't forget! We have a wonderful team of Counsellors at Southcote, should that be an avenue you want to pursue.