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A Day in the Life

Exam Stress

Exams. Hold on, here they come! And next week is Mental Health Awareness week with its focus this year on ‘Stress’. How very timely!

So how can you help your sons manage the stress that they may well be feeling?

First, as Revd. Hewitt explained last week, it’s important to help them to ‘embrace the stress’ – to see it as their friend – something that we need to help us to step up to the mark and perform at our best. The last thing we should be doing is getting stressed about being stressed. An appropriate amount of stress for the job is what we need and which our biochemistry can produce.

But how do we keep it within healthy boundaries? If panic takes over, we can end up over-doing the stress reaction. The following excellent short video puts the basics in a nutshell. It explains the neuroscience simply and covers the absolute basics of managing stress through the exam period.

I often see boys who are sleep-deprived and miserable because they push themselves too hard. They drop everything – friends, leisure pursuits, exercise, sleep – in order to work hard during exams. This is terrible for the brain. It needs rest, it needs variety and it needs the endorphins which exercise and time hanging out with friends provide, in order to function at its best. The video also touches on the slow breathing that we promote through our Mindfulness programme, an excellent calming strategy if stress is causing panic.

Do watch the video and share it with your sons!

Meg Harper, Head of Counselling