The days are getting longer, the sunny days are returning, it can mean only one time of the year – Exam Time and with it the dreaded “Exam Stress”. For many it can be the all-consuming Leaving Cert, for others end of year or college exams but either way the anxiety exams cause is upon us and our extended families once again.
While anxiety symptoms vary widely, odds are good that at some point you have experienced occasional physical and emotional distress signals such as panicky breathing, your heart pounding in your chest, trouble sleeping, feelings of dread, or even loops of worry.
Countless studies show that excess anxiety can cause real physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, increased blood pressure, chest pain, trouble sleeping, and its more serious role in mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
By itself, anxiety isn’t a problem. A certain amount of anxiety can even be helpful. A dollop of healthy anxiety can push you to study hard for the exam, but the problem is that sometimes the anxiety responses can overreact leading to been less productive, reduce physical exercise and disturbed sleep.
So how can we help with exam stress?
- Be organised - The panic created by a lack of preparation is perhaps the greatest cause of stress in the run-up to exam time.
- Stay active and keep fit - Exercise is excellent for relieving stress as it releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with the receptors in the brain that reduce perceptions of pain (be it actual pain, stress, or anxiety). Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body and mind, making you feel naturally happier.
- Schedule your sleep - Lack of sleep can lead us to losing focus and productivity during our normal daily routines and as everyone knows can also affect our moods and emotions. Inconsistent bedtimes and wake up times can actually make falling asleep less predictable. Most people need 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each day.
- Begin from within - Give your brain an extra boost by eating foods that can help boost your memory, concentration and general brain functions. Food such as oily fish, nuts, tomatoes, green leaves, and broccoli are just some of the foods shown to help your grey matter. As well as food, drink is also important to keep healthy and stress-free try to drink at least a litre bottle whilst revising as this will keep you hydrated and focused.
- Ask for help - Let your trusted friends and family know if you are struggling, so they can be there to support you or talk through your concerns with your teacher/tutor as they will have spoken to lots of students before who are going through similar things.
Are there vitamins or natural remedies that could help?
The most important thing to remember is that the last thing anyone needs is to get run down or sick leading up to exams. During times of anxiety or stress your immune system can be depleted or under pressure so a good multivitamin is important.
Revive Active Teen Active is specially formulated for 13-18 year olds delivering multiple benefits to support their physical, immune and mental needs. Enriched with 18 essential vitamins & minerals, including Iron, Copper and Vitamins B, C, D & A as well as a beta glucan Wellmune (clinically proven to naturally strengthen key immune cells) and a prebiotic and probiotic fiber.
For those a bit older Revive Active Zest Active brings together revolutionary functional ingredients specifically designed to promote natural energy, immune support, brain function and muscle recovery after exercise.
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) are critical for normal brain function and development throughout all stages of life. EPA and DHA seem to have important roles in the developing baby’s brain. In fact, several studies have correlated pregnant women’s fish intake or fish oil use with higher scores for their children on tests of intelligence and brain function in early childhood.
These fatty acids are also vital for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life. They are abundant in the cell membranes of brain cells, preserving cell membrane health and facilitating communication between brain cells. When animals are fed diets without omega-3 fatty acids, the amount of DHA in their brains decreases, and they tend to experience deficits in learning and memory.
Minami MorEpa is derived for deep-sea fish oil providing a highly concentrated source of omega-3 (590mg – EPA and 130mg DHA). MorEpa comes in an easy to swallow softgel, with no aftertaste.
For higher levels Minami MorEpa Platinum Smart Fats is derived for deep-sea fish oil providing a highly concentrated (90%) source of omega-3 (764mg – EPA and 236mg DHA) and vitamin D3 that contributes to a healthy heart, blood pressure, immune system and normal vision and brain function. MorEpa Platinum comes in an easy to swallow softgel, with no aftertaste.
Revive Active Mastermind is a powerful super supplement formulated to support brain, cognitive and psychological function and mental performance – the key to healthy memory formation and brain function. Mastermind was formulated in conjunction with the Brain Performance Nutrition Centre at the University of Northumbria and is recommended for the active ageing, students and working professionals.
Mastermind contains a powerful blend of 11 nutrients including
• Uridine helps the development of new synapses within the brain.
• Choline Bitartrate and Omega DHA promote the development of new synapses within the brain.
• Vitamin B12 contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system.
• Vitamin B5 contributes to normal mental performance.
• Zinc contributes to normal cognitive function.
Bach Rescue Remedy is designed to relieve your stress naturally. Ideal for those who are facing a stressful situation and are looking for a way to calm their nerves so they can make the most of their busy day.
Bach Rescue Remedy Spray is a simple spray that you can use whenever you need a moment to escape from exam stresses and anxiety. Bach Rescue Remedy (200 uses per pack) is suitable for the whole family and is vegan-friendly. Bach Resuce Remedy is also available in drops or pastilles. Some of the most common symptoms Rescue Remedy helps with include.
- Feeling overwhelmed.
- Feeling anxious.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Muscle tension.
- Trouble sleeping, fatigue.
This Works Stress Check Manager
Help restore a sense of calm to the busiest mind with the Stress Check Mood Manager from This Works. A 100% natural pure essential oil blend of ylang ylang, neroli and patchouli, this spray is created through fMRI brain imaging technology to help relieve feelings of stress and modify your mood.
To keep your stress in check all day, help maintain a sense of calm and pave the way to a better night's sleep.
Salin Plus: Salin Plus is an award-winning medical device that combines the functionality of traditional air purifiers with the healing qualities of salt therapy in one, easy to use device. The device removes airborne pollutants, such as dust and pollen whilst releasing tiny, therapeutic salt ions that aid a clean and consistent sleep.
Salin Plus Salt Therapy benefits people with many respiratory conditions including asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchitis, sinusitis, sleep apnoea, tuberculosis and many other respiratory and allergy conditions and people with breathing difficulties. Use is recommended mainly at night so as to ensure minimum exposure to the environment of 8 hours a day and to feel refreshed the next day.
These are just some of the ways you can make exam time a little more manageable. Leaving you stress-free and allowing to achieve the results you deserve.
Our expert staff are always here to help you if you are looking for ways to reduce exam stress. If you have any questions or would like any personalised advice please contact any of our stores by phone or email. Contact details for each branch are available on our website yourlocalpharmacy.ie