Live better.

It is very easy to fall into unhealthy habits during exam season. The need to be sufficiently prepared for exams often leads to students losing sight of their physical and mental wellbeing. Tempting as it may be to spend every waking hour studying, however, such an approach is ultimately counterproductive, leaving you exhausted and unable to perform to the best of your ability. We've shared some of our top tips to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while studying.

Eat Well

Maintaining a healthy diet can make a big difference to your overall wellbeing during exams. While caffeine, sugary drinks and snacks can give your brain a short-term boost, this kind of diet will, over time, begin to take its toll, negatively affecting both your well being and ability to study. Here are a few simple pointers on eating healthily during exams:

  • Don’t neglect breakfast! Start with a high carbohydrate breakfast, such as a bowl of porridge, to give you the long lasting energy you need to concentrate on your studies.
  • Try and make sure you are getting your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. During SOS we give out free fruit at NUSU, Philip Robinson, Walton and Marjorie Robinson Libraries.
  • Drink plenty of water. Don’t rely on caffeinated or sugary drinks to stay hydrated.
  • Schedule meals in your revision timetable.
  • Cook large batches of food for the week to save time. Alternatively, take it in turns with your housemates to prepare food for one another.

Sleep Well

Contrary to what some people think, working into the early hours the night before an exam is never a good idea. A good night’s sleep is vital for your brain to consolidate information and work at its best! As such, try to practice good sleep hygiene during exams. In particular, keep to a regular bed time, one that allows you to have eight hours sleep. Doing so will boost memory recall and your ability to concentrate. Here are some tips to ensure you are suitably rested before your exams:

  • Try to avoid television, computer, and mobile telephone screens for about an hour before you go to bed.
  • Avoid stimulants. Not only will caffeine, alcohol and drugs impede your energy and concentration, they will also make it more difficult to sleep.
  • Try to have a bedtime routine that helps you to unwind. This might involve having a warm bath or carrying out gentle exercises, such as light yoga stretches that relax your muscles.

Relaxation

Nobody can work all day, every day. As important as exam preparation undoubtedly is, it is vital you do not cut all enjoyment from your life! Setting aside some time during revision for activities you enjoy will help you to recharge your batteries. So schedule free time into your timetable and make sure you protect it. There are also various relaxation techniques you may wish to consider practicing, particularly if you find yourself feeling anxious or stressed. These include:

  • Mindfulness and meditation. NUSU will be offering guided mindfulness and meditation sessions during exams, so keep an eye out for them if you are interested!
  • Yoga and Pilates. NUSU has societies for both, offering guided sessions for you to get involved with regardless of your ability level. Details can be found on the NUSU website.
  • Massage. An experienced massage therapist is available every Wednesday at NUSU to deliver a stress-relieving massage to get rid of physical and mental aches and pains in the lead up to exams.

Where can I get free stuff?

We have physical resources and freebies available at:

  • The Hub, Second Floor NUSU
  • The Cube, First Floor NUSU
  • Philip Robinson Library
  • Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms
  • Walton Library
  • Business School
  • Urban Sciences Building
 
Got any feedback? Contact me, Jack Green at welfare.union@newcastle.ac.uk.