Priory Post 131 – De-stressing during revision

Posted: 27th August 2015

De-stressing during revision

From the Counsellor’s Chair

Following her recent article on revision, Mrs R Good, our School Counsellor, here speaks about de-stressing during revision.

‘Learning how to de-stress is crucial.  In the run up to examinations when you have a heavy work load and even when you are sitting in the examination room, straightforward, effective, self-help techniques are going to be helpful.  Adapted from, ‘Mind,’ Part 2 of managing revision, looks at some of these techniques.


Try a relaxation technique

  • Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply keeping the pace slow and regular. Breathe out more slowly than you breathe in.  Try to breathe from the diaphragm.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Locate any areas of tension and try to relax those muscles – imagine the tension disappearing
  • Relax each part of the body in turn – from your feet to the top of your head
  • As you focus on each part of your body think of warmth, heaviness and relaxation
  • After 20 minutes take some deep breaths and relax.
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Other ways of relaxing

  • Pause for thought. Take a moment to stop and pause in the day.  Take a moment to stop and look around you, or just close your eyes and listen to what you can hear or smell.
  • Help reconnect your body and sensations.  Be aware of thoughts and feelings as they happen, for instance touching the banister or inhaling a scent.  This moment to moment awareness of what is going on inside and outside us allows us to see the present moment more clearly.  Studies indicate that when we do we can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.
  • Where are you the happiest? Think of where you are the happiest. Conjure up that memory in your mind and savour each smell, colour, shape you remember. If it helps draw a picture; find that photograph.
  • Try active relaxation. Gentle exercises such as yoga, tai-chi, Pilates or a walk in fresh air can give you time to unwind your body and mind.
  • Listen to music. Your favourite tunes help you to switch off.
  • Read a funny story. See a feel good factor movie wrapped in a warm blanket with some hot chocolate.  Chat to a trusted friend or relative.
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Do some physical activity

10 -20 minutes a day spent doing some moderate physical activity can have a positive impact on your mental health. Exercise releases ‘feel good’ hormones, which help overcome a low mood.  It can also distract you from unwanted thoughts and worries and is an excellent way of coping with stress – especially if it’s enjoyable.  You may wish to do something on your own, or seek out opportunities for social sports.  Tasks such as housework and gardening provide exercise and are a good distraction.

Pet therapy

Studies have shown that petting your cat or dog can lower your blood pressure, reduce your heart rate and elevate mood.  Your cat or dog doesn’t discriminate.

Avoid confrontations

Arguments get us worked up and stressed so are best avoided.  They can affect our eating, sleeping and self-esteem at a time when our energy and thoughts need to be directed elsewhere.

Get enough sleep

If you are worried your worries can get blown out of proportion if you’re finding it difficult to sleep.  Try to cut down on stimulants, e.g. tea or coffee.  Make sure you unwind before you got to bed.  Switch off computers, mobiles, TV, DVDs, game consoles one to two hours before you go to bed (2 hours is preferable).  Spend the time getting ready for bed in a slow, relaxing way.  Remember that it is normal to struggle to sleep before something stressful like exams.

On a final note, think of what works for you as you are more likely to stick to it.  Relaxing and de-stressing won’t come naturally.  Start small and build up.  Keep practising.  Find a warm, quiet space where you will not be interrupted to help focus your mind and away from day to day distractions.



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