Student Weekly Tips: Finding the Calm in the Storm

During exam season, it’s especially important to take care of your well-being. When you’re in the heart of the storm, you might be feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. You’re not alone! The Student Team members have some personal tips to share on finding the calm in the storm.

Student with laptop sitting in front of a city view
Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash

How to cope with being overwhelmed with work

Woman doing yoga outside with the sun shining back
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

“I keep Saturdays free so I can catch up with friends, laze around, and altogether take a break so I can be more productive in focusing sessions” — Simone, Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology

“If I’m feeling really overwhelmed with work, I’ll step away from it and do something else for a while, like going for a walk or doing yoga. I know I’m not going to remember anything or revise effectively if I’m in a very anxious state. When I return, I’ll be in a much calmer state of mind to be able to decide on one thing only that I need to focus on right now (the most important thing!)” — Olivia, Psychology

“Honestly, actually telling myself to take a break is the best thing for me. I have had to learn to trust that I am doing enough no matter what but by actually telling myself to get up and have breaks or stop at 5pm to wind down for a good night’s sleep is really helpful — even if I haven’t done as much as I wanted to. I have found that working from home in the pandemic has helped a bit with this as I have been able to take a break in my own space and been able to clean or cook as a good break in between.” — Rachel, Sociology

Healthy cooking and healthy routines!

Person putting food from a pan into a plate
Photo by Kevin McCutcheon on Unsplash

“I get a weekly vegbox which means that I don’t have to shop for vegetables. It’s available for collection, in a number of locations including the university campus and Fallowfield so it’s very convenient. It helps me work a variety of vegetables into my diet. During exam period, I go for simple recipes such as pasta sauces, stir frys and roasted vegetables.” -Lili, Political Science

“If you like to snack often during the day (like me!), I recommend Graze. They have tasty yet nutritious snack bundles to accommodate a range of tastes, whether you have a sweet tooth, like vegan snacks or are more of a flapjack fan. “ — Olivia, Psychology

“I plan my meals for the next 5–7 days and do one big shop to get all the ingredients. It sometimes feels like I don’t have time to do this and I should be prioritising my uni work, but it honestly saves me time across the whole week to just sort it all out at once instead of going to the shop multiple times in the week. Saves money too.” — George, Urban Design & Planning

Cooking a bit more from scratch has been really helpful — including bulk cooking soups each week for lunch! Similarly, I try to choose decaffeinated alternatives in food and drink but any caffeine I do drink I stop by 12–1pm. This as well as drinking more water frequently and even just 20 minutes of meditation first thing have really helped me to sleep better and therefore feel more confident and motivated in my work…as well as feeling more confident and trustworthy in taking breaks. “ — Rachel, Sociology

Finding the balance between studying, exams, and relaxing

Student sits on desk with hand on laptop keyboard with a cup of tea on the right and notebook on the left
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

“It always helps me to separate work and relax time into distinct parts of my day. Going out to a cafe, or even something as small as going to a different room in the house (without my phone to get distracted by) makes a big difference.“ — Xavier, History

“I try to keep my evenings free to see my friends and destress. This helps me stay focused the next day and make sure I don’t burn out” — Simone, Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology

“Block out periods of time to just do nothing (for example, from 6pm onwards), where you can fill that time by catching up with people or doing something relaxing.” — Olivia, Psychology

What to do to de-stress and relax

Path covered with green trees
Photo by Jaime Dantas on Unsplash

“To destress I normally plan day outs with my friends. We normally plan these for right after exam season to have something to look forward to. On a more relaxed approach I watch different series I’ve been looking forward to or if I really have enough time then I will start working on my hobbies such as painting. Also giving yourself free time to simply do nothing is so beneficial.” — Nuura, Architecture

I chat with family and friends to relax. I also listen to instrumentals to relax. I found that cooking with my flatmates helps me relax. I also de-stress by taking long warm baths.”- Fatimah, Law

Going for regular walks (no matter what the weather is) just to get out is really helpful. I have really struggled with motivating myself to run recently but I have managed to keep up at least 2–3 2Ks per week which is more than enough.“ — Rachel, Sociology

“Going for walks, getting fresh air, doing yoga, meditation and sports are all very relaxing. Also, I like to listen to music — I can get a bit obsessive and listen to the same song on repeat until my brain eventually gets bored of it and moves onto the next addictive song!” — Olivia, Psychology

Thanks for reading! We hope these tips have helped you in taking care of your wellbeing during exam season. Until next week.

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Library Student Team

Library Student Team

The University of Manchester Library Student Team