Exam season may not seem like the best time for some rest and relaxation, but giving yourself a timeout is the best way to recharge before burning the midnight oil.
So, if you’re wondering how you can stay sane during a stressful exam season, here are some ways for you to relax when you’re ditching the books for a moment or two.
#1. Create your own spa experience
Don’t be alarmed if the exam season is wreaking havoc on your complexion!
When we’re under stress, our body releases a hormone called cortisol, which meddles with other hormones in our body and causes breakouts. You can combat these pesky zits by whipping up one of these affordable and easy-to-make face masks and pack it on in between memorising your nilai-nilai moral.
Alternatively, if you’re done studying for the night, soak in a bubble bath right before bed to reduce your stress levels, release muscular tension and help you get a good night’s sleep. If you have some extra time on your hands, make some rose water and give yourself a refreshing spritz whenever you hit a slump whilst memorising those Sejarah facts.
These easy DIY tricks will help you recreate that much-needed spa experience at home and may help you focus if you feel like you’ve hit a deadlock whilst studying.
#2. Curl up with some comfort food
It’s great to dig into some brain food when you’re busy hitting the books but sometimes, all you need is something sweet to satiate your post-cramming session cravings.
Or, if you fancy some breakfast in bed, try this 2-minute french toast for some soft cinnamon-y goodness. For a savoury treat instead, take a stab at this 10-minute mac n’ cheese recipe that takes a lot more time to make than to gobble up.
#3. Watch a feel-good flick
Nothing says pick-me-up like watching your favourite TV show or movie to boost your mood before you continue to hit the books.
So, if you find yourself slogging for SPM but secretly wish you were brewing felix felicis (aka liquid luck) in potions class, why not watch a Harry Potter film or even an old Disney movie for a #throwback timeout to lighten the mood?
Or, if you’re looking for a good laugh, take a load off with sitcoms such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family or even Parks and Recreation. Exams are no joke but a good ol’ LOL (laugh out loud) releases endorphins in our brain, enhances our oxygen intake, lowers stress and improves our immune system in the long run.
#4. Amp up your study ambience
Transform your study environment into a soothing one by simulating the mood of a bustling cafe, a comfy campfire or by pretending you’re sprawled on the beach (whichever suits your preference) as you study with this nifty ambient mixer.
Or, if you’re a Potterhead, this awesome website will transport you to various locations from the Harry Potter series, including the common rooms, the Hogwarts library and even the Leaky Cauldron to help you live out your dream of studying at the castle.
The best part? No portkey needed here!
#5. Calm your anxious mind
For those of us who are prone to anxiety, exams can exacerbate feelings of panic and stress. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and bogged down from all the studying you have yet to do, it’s important to take a moment to relax and avoid having a full-blown panic attack.
You can use this app and do nothing for 2 whole minutes. This can act as a starting point for you to practise mindfulness by focusing on the present and concentrating on your surroundings before moving on to some simple meditation later.
Alternatively, let your creative streak take over as this interactive website invites you to create a masterpiece of your own by manipulating bright neon colours into beautiful kaleidoscope-like shapes. Allow yourself to be hypnotised by these electric threads as they weave onto your screen for an immersive and therapeutic experience.
#6. Do a downward dog
Exercise may be the last thing that comes to mind when you think of relaxation, but it produces endorphins that can improve your ability to sleep, which in turn reduces your stress levels. Additionally, just 5 minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
So put on some blood-pumping music and try your hand at some of these beginner-level cardio moves that you can mix and match to create your favourite workout right in your room.
Once you’ve powered through a workout, you’ll find that your muscles, initially tense from hunching over your textbooks all day, are now warm and flexible. You’ll also feel fresh, energised and ready to get back to your books.
Not into high-intensity training? Try this beginner yoga flow to increase the release of serotonin, a hormone known to reduce depression and regulate anxiety, in addition to helping you stay relaxed and focused on the present.
#7. Call your “person”
If all else fails, you can always rely on a bestie, sibling or significant other to pick you up after a tough exam or a long day of studying.
This is especially important during the exam season as you may find yourself cooped up in your room for days on end, leaving you isolated and exhausted.
Additionally, a study from the University of Michigan suggests that socialising may improve your cognitive performance as social interactions induce people to take other people’s perspectives on things.
Socialising with others is also a great opportunity for you to confide in someone if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, helping you to express your worries, get their opinion on how you can improve your current situation or get a load off your shoulders (which may even weigh you down physically!).
Self-care may seem like a luxury to some, but it is crucial in preventing a burnout and helping you deal with the mounting stress that comes with sitting for a major exam. So, remember to take a breather and treat yourself with love this exam season. It’ll be over before you know it!