Stress Management 101: How to Nail Your Exams and Not Fail at Life

By: Ali Sakr

Sometimes, we’re just not getting things done. Regardless of the often very important reason, there’s usually something in common between all these unproductive situations. Accompanying this state of mental stasis is a creeping sense of unease at the back of your head. You can’t run away from your problems forever, but you’ve been running for quite some time now, so might as well take the rest of the day as a break. “I need this,” you say to yourself, sometimes even truthfully, but also comically oblivious of how this isn’t really doing you much good. You need this time to relax, yet you feel like a part of you is still thinking about all the things you need to do. The day is over, seemingly well spent, and then you mentally collapse not only due to the not-so-sudden realization that all your tasks didn’t complete themselves, but also – and primarily – due to the fact that you really don’t feel any better.

First thing’s first; don’t allow a state of panic to settle. The moment you begin to feel like you just can’t handle anything, take a breather, close your eyes and perhaps give yourself a slightly positive affirmation. A few examples of things you can do yo help calm yourself down are, drinking some water, washing your face, getting rid of excess energy by exercising, or going for a walk outdoors. After having temporarily calmed yourself down, it’s now time to get to business. I personally find that the only way to truly be calm is having a plan, and so, you will make one.

What you need to remember here is that you’re not just planning your work – you’re also planning your fun. A break that’s taken all of a sudden is likely not going to be as relaxing as you intend, so it’s best to schedule it all out. The key to this kind of strategy is making sure you stick to it all. You need to be incredibly focused when you need to work/study, and likewise, when you have a break scheduled, you need to have some uninterrupted fun. Allowing your brain relaxation that is granted – not taken – will be a welcomed change in how you perceive breaks in the first place.

Since I think this next bit of info is a bit self-explanatory and kind of common knowledge at this point, I will only brush over it quite quickly. For the aforementioned planning, choose an organizational system that works for you. Pen and paper, online to-do list, bullet journal – whatever it is, it needs to be efficient for you. The best combo, in my opinion, if you’re going digital is a to-do list and a calendar; daily and weekly tasks on your to-do, important dates and appointments, as well as your weekly schedule on your calendar. Pretty simple.

And now, we move onto a piece of advice that is absolutely revolutionary. If you can’t stand studying at home, study somewhere else. It’s really not that difficult to find an environment that suits you, be it a slightly alive-feeling café, a dedicated quiet area for studying like a library, or a nice open-air location, it all exists. Sometimes the very act of being in the same predicament as a bunch of other humans who also need to get their shit together can be quite encouraging, and serve as a great way to change up the feel you’re probably used to from your home.Finally, at the quite abrupt end of this jumbled up excuse for an article, I think that the most important piece of advice I could possibly provide, is to give everything its weight. Your grades, enjoyment, friendships, physical and mental health – all of it. Set your priorities, and act accordingly. You can’t fix everything at the same time, so don’t try to transform into another person in a day. Baby steps; calm down, do some planning, change up your scenery and have a few nice breaks. I think that’ll be a good enough place to start.

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