How to cope with exam stress

May 21, 2024

by: Charlotte Angkriwan

All Images by: FREEPIK

Hey there! It’s Charlotte again, and today, I’ll be trying to help you cope with the stress & anxiety that comes with online school.

Stress is something that overwhelms all of us. It’s almost impossible to avoid, and when it hits us, it hits us hard. It’s an innate response, really. We’re designed to feel stressed when we’re in “dangerous” situations, which is not much of a reality for North Americans nowadays. So instead, we become stressed when we have upcoming deadlines or when we don’t feel confident for a presentation at school/work.

The good news is, there are ways to lessen the sense of panic. Here are my tips on how you can control your emotions during stressful situations.

Meditate. Pray. Do Whatever Works.

When we’re stressed, we tend to push away the cause of stress and end up doing one of two things: Try to fix the issue while feeling stressed or procrastinate the issue while feeling stressed. Research shows that meditation and prayer can help decrease “our reactivity to negative events” and trigger oxytocin (happy brain chemicals).

To learn more about the research behind meditation & prayer, check out this NBC News article called This is your brain on prayer and meditation. When I'm stressed, I try to do a bit of both. It helps me see the bigger picture, and I usually feel less worried about the present.

Stay Healthy: Physically and Mentally

I’m sure you hear this a lot. But it’s repeated multiple times because of its importance. Exercising is one of the best ways to combat stress. Exercising lowers your stress hormones and releases endorphins, which makes you feel happier. Physical activity can also improve your sleep, which is another factor in staying physically healthy.

When I do my daily jogs, I feel more motivated and refreshed. It also helps me feel more tired, which helps me fall asleep at night. My tip for you is to try and find an activity you like, whether it's yoga, jogging, dancing, or lifting weights.

Not sure where to start? Visit this page for 30 Moves to Make the Most of Your At-Home Workout by Healthline. 

Lower Your Caffeine Intake

Caffeine can be found in many drinks such as tea, coffee, and energy drinks. Research shows that high amounts of caffeine can lead to higher anxiety levels. If you notice that you get jittery or anxious after drinking coffee, try to lower your caffeine intake. Replace your daily cup of coffee with a cup of black or green tea. For example, my favourite alternative to coffee is earl grey tea with cream.  

To learn more about Caffeine, Stress, and Your Health by VeryWellMind, click here

Stay Organized & Avoid Procrastination

This is a tough one, I know. We all have trouble with procrastination somehow. Staying organized can help you avoid being in a situation where you have to finish a 2000-word essay in less than 48 hours (I see you, procrastinators). Avoiding the situation can easily help you avoid stress.

Not sure where to start? Skim through this article on the Top 10 Ways to Avoid Procrastination by CollegeXpress for some good tips & tricks to help you out.

Well, there you go! At the end of the day, just know that you will pass through this tough time. In five years from now, you won’t even remember what you’re stressing about right now. Take some deep breaths and conquer your troubles! You can do it.