How to relax during exams

Katie Garratt

Despite the fun of university, completing the academic side of university can be stressful, especially during exam period. It’s so important to look after your health and wellbeing during exam periods to help manage stress. Here are my tips on how to relax and look after your health during exam season at Durham University.

Exercise and healthy eating (and remember to drink plenty water)

Keeping active during exam periods can help reduce stress levels as well as keeping yourself healthy. I have recently started attending a gym in Durham which also has a pool. Going for a gym session and a swim after a long day of revision and uni work is a great way of de-stressing. I find swimming is especially great to relax and de-stress – having no music or phone to distract myself, it’s a great time to reflect on the day and how I’m feeling for exams. There are many gyms around Durham to join such as the gym at Durham University’s sport centre, Maiden Castle, and Freeman’s Quay Leisure Centre in the town centre.

As well as swimming or attending the gym, long walks are also great to relax. There are so many beautiful fields and woodlands around Durham and the hill Colleges. I especially love walking along the river path in the sun – it helps me relax during exams. As well as staying active, it’s so important to eat healthily and drink plenty of water to help fuel your brain during exams.

Having days off

Another important thing I do to keep myself relaxed and healthy during exam season is taking days off. During the exam period, it can be so hard to fully relax and take time away from work, especially as it gets closer to deadlines and exams. But taking at least one whole day away from university work, making sure not to open your laptop or answer any emails for the day is so helpful to reset. I find when I take a day completely away from work, I come back the next day more energised and ready to revise.

Planning things to look forward to

Making sure you keep a balanced lifestyle during exam period is so important. Although revising and completing coursework should be a priority, making sure you leave enough time for exercise and socialising is also important. I find planning one or two evening activities a week is a great way to de-stress. Having something to look forward to after a day or week of revising motivates me and helps me to keep going. There are so many fun activities in Durham to attend throughout the week. My new favourite is a Tuesday night pub quiz. Each Tuesday, my friendship group completes the pub quiz together. It’s great to help us all unwind and take our minds away from revision for the night, but still allows us to get an early night for the next day. Other ways I like to de-stress include attending college formals and watching college sports fixtures.

Speaking to friends

It’s so important to make sure you talk to your friends about how you are feeling, and socialise and listen to them if they are also stressed. Exam periods can be stressful so knowing you have a friend you can talk to is so helpful. Being able to talk to them if you are stressed about an exam or an assignment you are struggling with can really help you to understand your stress, and they can provide help if you are struggling. As well as friends, there is also university and college support that can be used throughout the exam period. Colleges put on events such as ‘doggy de-stress’ with guide dogs, or more serious support such as mental health or counselling services that can be used by students, accessible here: Student Support & Wellbeing – Durham University .

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Katie Garratt

Hi, I’m Katie and I am currently a 2nd year Human Geography student at Trevelyan College. As well as my degree, I have a particular love for sport. I represent Durham in trampolining, but I also captain Trevelyan College netball team, Trevelyan college darts team and play for the Trevelyan/Grey college rugby team.

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