With SPM results day looming on the horizon, you may already be anticipating the onslaught of worry, nervousness and panic that is sure to take over.
In this article, we’re giving you our top tips to tackle the 24-hours leading up to results day to keep your head and heart healthy so you don’t buckle under the pressure of the impending “judgement day”.
#1. Plan a fun day to numb those nerves
Don’t be alarmed if you wake up the day before results day feeling like you’re carrying a thousand restless butterflies in your stomach.
The key to surviving this unnaturally long day is to take your mind off the “impending doom” of tomorrow. If you’re up for a day out, while the time away with a movie with your best buds and cap the night off with a cosy dinner together.
If you’re feeling adventurous, throw yourself into the deep end by trying a new activity, such as bowling, ice-skating or archery. Channelling your energy towards something challenging will keep your mind occupied and prevent your thoughts from spiralling out of control.
Even if you can’t bring yourself to get out of the house, there’s no use staying curled up in bed, replaying undesirable results-day scenarios in your head. Plop yourself on a couch and binge-watch (yeah, we said binge) your favourite TV series with a big bowl of ice cream or pop your own popcorn and put on a feel-good flick for maximum chill.
#2. Get moving
You may not be in the mood to do some push-ups and planks, but engaging in physical activity is an effective way of channelling all that excess nervous energy towards something useful.
If that’s not your idea of a fun workout, there are more ways than one to break a sweat. You could play a game of badminton with friends, sweat it out with a 30-minute solo dance party in your room or grab a pal for a quick stroll around your housing area.
If you’re not sure how huffing and puffing up your neighbourhood hill is supposed to make you feel better, you’ll be pleased to know that exercising triggers your brain to release endorphins to keep you in a good mood and will force your wandering mind to focus on the task at hand. It’s also an effective way to tire your limbs and help you fall into a deep sleep at night.
#3. Practice mindfulness
If you find your anxiety escalating into magnificent proportions, take a few minutes to practice mindfulness. This will help you acknowledge your discomfort and redirect your focus on the present rather than allowing yourself to ruminate on the future.
If your brain continues to cook up negative thoughts, write down your worries to clear your head. For a quick pick-me-up, set a timer for 15 minutes and pen down 5-10 things you’re grateful for to remind you of the things that make you happy and that are truly important in your life.
If all else fails, it helps to reach out to someone and open up about your feelings. Talking to a loved one is a great way to offload some of that mental baggage and give you that much-needed confidence-boost.
#4. Prepare for tomorrow
We don’t encourage you to mull over what might or might not happen tomorrow, but there are some things you should plan for the big day.
Make sure you know what time you should be at school to receive your results and plan your outfit for the next day. Your #OOTD doesn’t seem very important in light of tomorrow’s events, but you’ll still need to ensure that you pick out something discipline-teacher approved.
Unless your school specifies otherwise, you don’t have to wear your school uniform, but you will need to adhere to your school dress code.
So avoid wearing revealing clothes and opt for safer options, such as long pants or skirts, jeans and t-shirts or shirts. Skip the shorts, mini skirts, sleeveless tops, slippers and t-shirts with indecent connotations — you don’t want to be stopped at the gates at this crucial time because of inappropriate footwear.
#5. Get a good night’s rest
Yes we know, it’s going to be next to impossible to get any shut-eye the night before D-Day.
But if you’re thinking of pulling an all-nighter while soaking in a thought-soup of self-doubt, think again, buddy!
The lack of sleep is sure to leave you feeling irritable and moody the next morning, and you’re going to need all the energy you can get to weather the emotionally-turbulent day ahead!
But how do you get past the quickening heartbeat, sweaty palms and bouts of breathlessness that are sure to take over during the night?
One way to do so is to indulge in a relaxing pre-sleep routine, like lighting lavender-scented candles, drawing yourself a delicious smelling bath and doing some light reading to melt the stress away and cultivate a relaxed state of mind before bedtime.
#6. Remember that grades aren’t everything
Having completed arguably the most important exam of your life to date, you might feel as if your entire life is on the line, but we’ll let you in on a little secret — it isn’t.
We’d hate to spark controversy, but the truth is exams aren’t the only measure of your intelligence.
“Then why did I even bother?”
Don’t get us wrong ㅡ achieving good grades assures a smooth transition to university and course of your choice (especially for competitive programmes like medicine), in addition to setting a solid foundation for your higher education and career pursuits.
That being said, exams may define the course of your life in the short term, but what you choose to do with your successes and failures in life are what will shape your future. So, you might be shaking in your boots tonight, but rest assured, 5 years (heck, maybe a year) from now, you won’t be giving your results a second thought.
Lastly, we say take a page out of Elsa’s book and learn to let it go. You may not be able to change the outcome of your results now, but you can learn from your triumphs and mistakes, regardless.
You’ve done your best and it’s time to close this chapter in your life and move on. No matter what happens tomorrow, you’ll be on your way to bigger and better things!