A guide on how to cope with stress and stay calm when exams are overwhelming you

The overwhelming pressure of exams, revision and all-nighters puts a lot of added strain on an already tough life at university and at times, it can feel as though it all just gets a little bit too much to cope with.

An important thing to remind yourself of is that you need to take care of your mental health in these stressful periods – remember, you can’t pour from an empty jug.

Here is a guide, written from experience, on how to cope with the stress surrounding exams in Lancaster, and how to take care of your mental health when it needs it the most.

Go for a walk

I know it’s very cliché but go and explore the beautiful sights that Lancaster has to offer. Whether you take a stroll up to Galgate and walk by the canal or walk through the hundreds of trees on the Woodland Walk around the campus, there’s 100 per cent a sight for everyone to enjoy.

Walking not only clears your head, but the endorphins and fresh air will help your body feel good after being sat inside at a desk revising for hours on end. You’ll feel miles better afterwards, both mentally and physically.


I know I must sound crazy because socialising is the last thing on your mind but making sure you take time out to see your friends and family during this period will keep you going.

Isolating yourself will only have a further negative impact on your mental health and while your exams are important, they are not worth damaging your mental health over.

During breaks, take the time to have a Greggs and a Costa with a friend, or have a catch-up with your family back home – relaxing your mind and having a wind down will do you the world of good.

Bake or Cook

A really underrated therapeutic activity is to release stress through baking or cooking (and you have some yummy food to enjoy afterwards). Scientifically, it decreases your stress hormones and keeps you focused on a task that isn’t revising.

Having something to show for that work too is always a plus – and will make you very popular with your flatmates and friends.

Just breathe

During periods of stress, we all have a tendency to breathe very shallowly which just increases our anxiety levels. Take a minute out to just focus on deep breathing and thank me later.

Bringing your breathing back to normal will instantly relieve some anxiety and stress and bring your focus back to help you relax a little bit more.

This is my personal favourite app to help with breathing.

Self Care

Whether your self care of choice is a face mask, a cringe movie or simply just showering and putting on some fresh clothes, take some time for yourself. Your mind and body need to be taken care of during stressful periods, so this is the perfect time to find what makes you feel good.

By caring for yourself, you will put yourself in a better mind frame to focus when you come to revise again and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love sitting down with a comfort movie and some food?

Just remember, exam season will end and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t do as well as you hoped. Things will work out in the end, just take every day as it comes, and you will get through it.

For mental health resources, check out MIND‘s website. Reach out if you need help.

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