Revision stress getting you down? Here are 6 simple things you can do in times when it feels like you’re losing the battle:

1. Take a Break

As clichéd as it sounds, taking a break really is important when it comes to exam preparation. The Pomodoro technique of alternating 25 minute sessions of work with short 5 minute breaks, has been well documented for its effectiveness. Resources are available online to help you strategically plan your work to avoid the dreaded brain burn-out, including timing apps for your phone (such as 30:30), which allow you to allocate a certain time limit for certain tasks and notify you when the time is up.

Now of course, you don’t always get your task completed within the set time, however taking a break allows you to return to your project or notes with a fresh outlook and may be crucial for understanding those tricky concepts.

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2. Take a Walk

Again, another cliché, but the power of nature can be strangely soothing. Whether during your breaks or as a way to cool down at the end of a long day, taking a walk can help decrease stress levels and increase fitness. If it’s a particularly sunny day – even better!

Either listening to the sounds of nature, the city,  or a Spotify playlist, going for a brief walk can help put your stresses into perspective and allow you to appreciate your surroundings. It’s the perfect time to think, mentally organise your notes, plan your meals, or just completely zone out and ignore the world.

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3.Take Time to Organise

I know getting organised isn’t necessarily the most laid-back piece of advice for already stressed-out students, but sometimes it helps. When feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of slides/notes/lectures you have to go through, it’s good to break it down into bitesize chunks.

Simple, repetitive activities like counting how many lectures you need to recap and comparing that number of days before the exam may really help you to feel less overwhelmed. Another easy but somewhat soothing activity is simply collecting resources. Find somewhere to keep any articles, exam papers and books that might be useful and decide which order you want to tackle them in. This way, it’s doing a tiny low-stress amount of work to help you feel more accomplished and organised.


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4. Take Someone for Coffee

As mentioned earlier, the sheer act of taking a break and leaving the house can do wonders for your stress levels. As, so it happens, can meeting with friends. If you have the money for a fancy coffee, invite one of your fellow stressed-out friends for a coffee and a chat. Failing that, take the opportunity to bond with family members or course-mates – they’ve been in the same situation as you and will likely be happy to give you more useful stress-combatting activities.

If you don’t have the money for coffee – no problem! Invite a friend over or meet in a public place for a walk. Relaxation doesn’t have to cost a penny!

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5. Take A Deep Breath

In times of high anxiety, even simple breathing tricks can help. Even when you’re not having an anxiety attack, taking a moment to watch how you breathe can be very therapeutic. A nice little trick to slow your heartbeat is to breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds and out through your mouth for 4 seconds.

But even if you’re not into breathing techniques, try and be aware that in times of stress your body does irrational things – it tenses, aches, and sometimes just over-reacts. Know that stress is a natural but treatable reaction to difficult times and it can be managed with a little practice.


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6.Take Time for You

Taking breaks, walks, deep breaths and friends for coffee is all well and good. But at the end of the day, none it means anything if you don’t take proper time out to do things you enjoy. Everyone needs a ‘me’ day. Not just an hour, not just two, but a day committed to getting everything you need from life – good food, relaxation and time to engage in your hobbies. And I know, keeping hobbies while studying is difficult, but stimulating your mind in non-academic ways can be really, really beneficial. Sing, dance, bake – do whatever you need!

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And remember, no matter what you do – take care of your mental and physical health. Don’t overwork yourself, make sure you get plenty of rest and try to eat as well as you can. Reach out to friends and family, not only for your sake but for theirs – they’re probably just as stressed as you! And don’t forget – you’re amazing, it will all work out in the end.

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