Exam Depression (Coping Strategies)

Exam Depression (Coping Strategies)

In this brief guide, we will be discussing Exam Depression. 

Exam Depression

Exam depression is a phenomenon typically experienced by students when the exams are around the corner and when stress builds up concerning the performance in exams. However, instead of letting the depression take us over, we could use some tips to overcome it, as it emerges. A couple of ways to deal with exam depression are as follows:

  • Meditation. A five-minute meditation before you appear for your exams can help you make feel grounded and calmer. Even a five-minute meditation after you’re done with your study sessions helps in gaining focus and to keep unwanted thoughts at bay.
  • Desserts. Indulging in a light dessert of your choice will help in cheering up your mood and make you pay less attention to the exam blues. Also, make sure not to binge at the same time. Keep it balanced.
  • Talk to someone. When stressed out or worked up, try putting out your thoughts and worries to someone with who you are close. Express your genuine concerns. This will lessen your burden and make you feel relieved.
  • Sleep. Sleep is one of the most important factors in dealing with stress and anxiety. Try to get enough sleep before you appear for an exam. Strictly do not sit overtime to study or revise. 
  • Exercise. Pumping up your adrenaline levels do go a long way in making your mind and body feel lighter. Try to move your body and get some exercise which you feel comfortable doing. This helps in the proper circulation of blood all over the blood and makes you feel more focused.
  • Listen to music. Music possesses the power to heal your anxiety and get you charged up. It has proven time and again to be one of the best coping methods to deal with anxiety and depression. 
  • Reward yourself. Always appreciate and reward yourself with little things for all your achievements, big or small. An appraisal is one of the basic needs of a human being and so give it to yourself.

Signs of Exam Depression

Exams and tests are challenging tasks for most students, youngsters, parents, and teachers. However, students who have to face the exam endure most of the stress, and sometimes they even go through depression. In these crucial circumstances, it is imperative to look out for signs of severe stress that would lead to depression. Some of them are as given below:

  • Excessive and uncontrollable worry concerning approaching exams.
  • Feeling tensed and rigid throughout the whole body
  • Frequent episodes of headaches and stomach problems
  • Lack of sleep or too much sleep
  • Increased irritability and agitation
  • Lack of interest in food and eating
  • Loss of interest in activities enjoyed previously
  • Constantly being stuck in a loop of negative thoughts
  • Drastic changes in mood and temperament
  • A feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness persistently.
  • Unnecessary comparisons with peers.
  • physical symptoms such as breathlessness, cold feet, hot flushes, and such kind.

Parents, caretakers, and teachers have a huge role to play in helping students to cope with exam depression. Talk with them and listen to them without being judgemental. Hear out their problems and assure them that you are going to be there for them.

 Together, work out to come up with various coping strategies and plans to deal with the underlying stress and tension. ensure that they get sufficient sleep and food. Be careful not to exert any sort of pressure on them from your side and help them out with their study sessions. 

Try to maintain flexibility around exam time to be there with them and support them.  Talk about exam nerves and ensure that it’s normal to go through such a state of mind. Help your child, to open up to you and share their fears with you truthfully.

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Embracing the exam period

Here are some tips to help you keep aside your worries and embrace your exam period. 

Motivation 

 Intrinsic motivation is a key step to keep away exam blues. Motivating yourself to kick start studying for exams can come across as difficult. In these times, look out for motivation from external sources such as books, films, talking to parents or friends, or indulging in your favorite hobby to make you feel lighter. 

You can also try to form study groups with your peers and do your revision sessions together. This is a great way to motivate each other and to help each other with emerging struggles. Take short breaks in between and do not exhaust yourself.

Methods of studying

Figure out the best method for studying that suits your needs and helps you to be focused. Sometimes solo studying in a quiet place can help you concentrate well and keep away you from external stressors. 

At other times you might need people around you to help you out with your revision and to aid you in your study process. Watch out for the amount of time you can dedicate to studying without faltering attention. Do not exceed this time limit as it could lead to burnout and tiredness.

Exam Depression (Coping Strategies)

Structured organization

 Be organized. Be aware of your study habits and patterns. This helps you to gain insight into where you need to organize things and to keep your study routine in order. Invest time to plan out a proper timetable that suits your study habits and requirements. Plan out revision slots and be ready to stick to them as much as possible.

Healthy body

Feeding your body with healthy food is equal to feeding your brain. It helps you to sharpen your memory power, attention span, and to keep you healthy and energized. Ensure a consistent intake of required nutrients and drink lots of water. Include fruits, vegetables, and nuts in your diet and go low on the intake of junk food. 

Mind your thoughts

Your thoughts speak a lot about you as a person. Hence, be aware of the thoughts you feed in your mind. automatic negative thoughts can be harmful and lead to aggravated stress as time passes. Believe in your abilities and tell yourself that you can do your best, no matter what

 If you find it difficult to focus on negative thoughts running in your mind while studying, try taking breaks in between and give yourself time to sort out your thoughts and maintain a balance.

Enough sleep and socializing

Ensure your body receives enough sleep it requires for rejuvenation. If your body is exhausted that would inevitably affect your cognition and lead to added stress. Take short naps whenever you feel like it and keep away from everything while sleeping. 

Also, remember to meet your close friends and spent some time with them. This helps you to cheer up and feel less stressed out.

Exam Depression (Coping Strategies)

Professional help

If you feel the above ways are not helping you to deal with your exam stress, then do not hesitate to seek professional help. It could be your school counselor or any other professional therapist or psychologist. They help in providing a safe space to discuss your concerns and worries without interruptions.

They will work with you to help you regain confidence and to form realistic goals concerning your exams. 

Things to keep in mind during the exam

There are certain tips which you may use while giving your exam. These tips will help you to write your exam properly and without unnecessary stress.

  • Trust yourself. When we get worried we tend to get self-critical and doubt our abilities without any validating justifications. We begin to even questions the things we have learned thoroughly which would lead to wrong answers. 

So trust your instincts and keep away from critical thoughts and judgments that arise during the exam time.

  • Do not panic. After you read a question, give yourself time to process what you just read and to remember the answer. Do not get worked up instantly and waste time brooding over the worst.  Write what you know in the best way possible and quickly continue with the rest of the exam. 
  • Take deep breaths. If you feel panicky while writing your exam, stop right there and catch a breath slowly. Drink some water and help your body and mind gain a balance. Panic occurs mostly due to hyperventilation and this is something that can be controlled with mindful breathing. 
  • Tell yourself that you are not alone in this. Several other students are writing the same exam as you and might be going through the same situation. So the key is to focus solely on the exam and to answer them in the way you know in the time provided. 
  • Clear your doubts. If you develop any doubt or query regarding any question in your exam, make it a point to clear the doubts then and there. Talk to the concerned teacher instead of panicking or deciding to skip the question. This will help you to gain clarity and confidence in continuing your exam without unwanted stress and worries.

Acceptance is the key idea. Exam depression is a real thing and a wholesome acceptance of this fact helps you to move forward and take steps to manage it. Do not try to ignore the tension or go against it. Observe the feelings and thoughts as they emerge and avoid acting upon them as they occur to you.

Keep a neutral state of mind and deal with the blues as they arise without pushing them away for tomorrow.

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Conclusion

In this brief overview, we discussed the topic: exam depression. We examined the signs of exam depression and ways to cope with it before and during exams. 

FAQs: Exam Depression

How can I calm my exam anxiety?

Exam anxiety can be reduced by the following strategies as given below:

  • Study in an efficient and meticulous manner
  • Establish a study routine that is suited for your time and needs.
  • Take regular revision with the help of your teacher
  • Try to inculcate relaxation exercises during your study hours
  • Sleep well and eat healthy food consistently
  • Prepare for exams well in advance
  • Do not compare your scores and pace of study with your peers as it creates more anxiety.

How do exams affect mental health?

Exams invoke stress in children and it further aggravates the anxiety level over time. Exam stress leads to many other mental health problems. These problems include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, low self-esteem, and so on.

How can I study with anxiety?

To study while experiencing anxiety, a set of quick tips can be followed. They are as follows:

  • Take deep, slow breaths until you feel grounded
  • Share your worries with a close friend, parent, or teacher
  • Focus on the task at hand and keep away irrelevant thoughts.
  • Remember the times you have performed well before. 

Can school stress cause mental illness?

School stress could cause mental illness if and when the attention span, memory power, and emotional regulations of the child are negatively affected. This will lead to severe stress and disturbances in the child which would eventually contribute to physical as well as mental illnesses. This occurs due to the changes that occur in the metabolic functions and hormonal functions of the body.

References

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/coping-with-exam-stress/

https://www.locusassignments.com/how-to-avoid-depression-during-exams/

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Unnimaya Madhu has a master’s degree in Psychology and is a keen student of the subject. As part of her educational process, she has had exposure to working with young children and hopes to pursue a career in helping small children with intellectual and psychological challenges. Otherwise, she is an intrepid blogger and utilizes her communication skills to write articles on a variety of subjects. Her hobbies include reading, music and dabbling in Mandala art.