21 Steps to a Stress-less Swotvac

Swotvac is maybe the most stressful time of the year, and it can only take a slight Microsoft Word malfunction or missed tram to launch you into full panic mode (tears included). Luckily, there are a heap of things you can do that’ll help you prevent a meltdown and have a relatively stress-free exam period.

  1. You know who doesn’t ask you how study’s going? Animals. If you have a pet, spend some quality snuggle time together. If you don’t, the cat cafe is close to uni and is well worth your time.

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    Hanging out with this guy seems like so much more fun than study, right?
  2. Plan your food in advance. It’s really easy to just eat cereal at random intervals throughout the day & night, but you will study better if you pay attention to your nutrition. Dinner doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it probably shouldn’t be breakfast food. At least not every day.
  3. Work out your daily schedules: some of us function better in the morning, others the afternoon, and others at night! Plan when you’ll study first, then allocate time for exercise, leisure, relaxation, and sleep. If you know you can’t seem to process anything besides cat videos after 8pm, have your last study block of the day from 7-8 and then say that 8pm onwards is leisure time! It’s really important to think of yourself, and don’t worry about what others are doing. No one is really a study machine, despite what you might see in the library. These other activities will help make your study sessions all the more worthwhile.
  4. Don’t neglect the essentials! While it’s tempting to just hang out in pyjamas all swotvac, you’ll feel much better if you keep up a basic routine. In short: Have a shower. Put on pants. Go outside.tumblr_msx15qFkVh1qbfc5to2_500
  5. Schedule activities that force you to take a break. The stress of SWOTVAC can prompt us to cancel all other commitments in order to study, whether it be taking the week off work, skipping that weekly netball match, or turning down coffee dates with friends. Although it’s important to prioritise study this week, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be studying for twelve hours a day, every day – that’s unsustainable for most mere mortals. Making time to catch up with friends and keeping a work shift or two will give your week structure and prevent you from getting cabin fever.
  6. Studying late at night? Make sure your phone & computer have a bluelight filter or your laptop has flux (https://justgetflux.com/), which will essentially put a filter on your screen to minimise the effects of harsh light on your eyes. This helps you sleep better!
  7. Exercise. Sure, some of us don’t feel like exercising at the best of times, but taking a quick 15 minute walk can do wonders for re-energising and focusing you again after a long day at your desk. Fresh air is always an added bonus, but dancing around your house is a suitable alternative. 44lCVMu
  8. Speaking of eyes, look after them! Staring at a computer all day is not great for your eyes. Keep the 20-20-20 rule in mind (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds). If your eyes are really playing up, the university has an eye clinic that is free for students. They may be able to prescribe glasses or eye drops.
  9. Make a to-do list with all of the tasks you want to get done each day. This way whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed you can look at your list and see that you have actually gotten through a fair bit and managed to tick at least a few things off!
  10. Have a nice therapeutic cry. Obviously you do not want to be a teary mess for the entire exam period, but sometimes you have to let yourself feel very overwhelmed and sad and have a nice long cry (preferably in the shower) so you can get it all out and move on with your study.
  11. Be mindful. This could be as simple as stopping to breathe, doing a quick colouring activity, or a quick five-minutes guided meditation (Smiling Mind is a great resource for those beginning meditation). It’s important to keep your stress under control so that things don’t build up.

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    Pictured: not you avoiding your feelings.
  12. Make sure you have at least one non-study-related conversation per day. This will really help lift you out of the study funk and keep your perspective. Exams don’t last forever, and they’re not the most important thing in your life.
  13. In addition to this, having conversations where you complain about study can also be weirdly therapeutic (granted you’re having them with the right people). Sometimes you just need to rant to a friend about how you’re probably going to fail because you can’t pull yourself away from Netflix, and have them recite all of their bad marks from the past semester back at you in return. It’s easy to forget that we’re all in the same boat and you’re not the only one feeling a bit lost right now.
  14. Where you study can make all the difference. While some people need to sit in a quiet library for hours on end, this can cause a lot of anxiety for others. Figure out where you work best and stick to it, whether that be in a cafe, at home, or in a quiet spot at uni. You don’t have to force yourself to go to the library if it’s not going to be a pleasant experience for you!
  15. Sleep is very important. Always have at least 8 hours of sleep to have plenty of energy, and concentration throughout your day.
  16. Listening to your body is a good way to looking after yourself. If you’re a music student, whether diploma or Bachelor, it’s very important to listen to your body to avoiding over practising, or even RSI. All students should pay attention to any pains in your back, shoulders and hands. Try to move around for a few minutes during each study break and be mindful of your posture, especially if you’re working at a computer.

    RuddHands
    K-Rudd knows.
  17. Try looking at the scenery of trees, or the garden even. It boosts concentration when taking a break.
  18. If you’re feeling frustrated, try closing your eyes, and listen to classical music. Working in a calm manner is the best way to study or work.
  19. Sometimes when you’re stressed the best thing you can do is step away from whatever you’re doing, make a nice cup of tea, have a rest and then go back to whatever it was you were doing with a fresh outlook and a nice beverage that feels like you are being hugged on the inside.
  20. Have a look at our post about stress-busting apps. There’s an app to suit everyone’s needs. Or you might want to put away your phone completely during exams.
  21. Finally, as hard as it can be, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. All you can do is try your best and work within your limits – know what works for you and what your own abilities are, and don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to push yourself beyond that. You are already doing so well!

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