With exam season finished, you might be feeling a bit worried or stressed with what is coming next — results day. But, the best thing to do is to stay calm and enjoy your well-deserved break! Experts from Northumbria University’s UCAS Clearing team in Newcastle, give us their top tips:
An often underestimated and forgotten technique is the practise of meditation. This involves finding a quiet place and taking some time out for yourself through breathing exercises and focus. But how does it keep you calm? Science suggests that good breathing techniques send more oxygen through your bloodstream which reduces your stress levels.
If you think you can manage it on your own, simply sit with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing for 10 minutes or more. When you feel your mind wandering, bring it back to focusing and keep practising this until you feel calm and in control. Alternatively, there are meditation apps that you can download for your mobile which can assist you with the practise. Headspace is one that is popular for example and has a range of exercises and focuses to help you beat the anxieties and stress of results day.
You’ve probably heard of this one, but it shouldn’t go ignored! The power of exercise as a mood-booster is incredible. It doesn’t have to be rigorous activity, simply a brisk walk outdoors can get your stress levels down and make you feel happier.
Exercise and physical activity leads to the production of endorphins in the body which improve your ability to sleep and make you feel good! Take the opportunity to put your phone down for a few hours or put your headphones in and enjoy exercising — your body will thank you after being stuck in a library revising for months!
In fact, one survey, carried out on behalf of Northumbria University in 2018, discovered that 28% of boys used regular exercise as a stress coping method during exam time. This indicates that exercise is an effective stress reliever — it could help combat feelings of worry ahead of results day too.
Similar to doing exercise, spending time outdoors can improve your mood and make you feel generally happier!
There have been many studies around this topic and some of the findings include; individuals who spent two nights staying in a forest had lower stress levels than those who spent the same amount of time in a city, being in a ‘green environment’ boosted self-esteem and mood, and outdoor time lowers blood pressure.
Why not encourage your friends to join you for a picnic in the park or for a trip to the coast?
A balanced diet
With your school timetable out the window, you might find that your eating schedule is all over the place too. But, if you want to stay calm and collected, it’s important that you keep in control of your diet.
So, what should you include in your diet to reduce your stress levels? Research has found that having a warm cup of tea can be calming, especially if it includes calming herbs such lavender and chamomile. Or, treat yourself with some dark chocolate now and then, it’s rich in antioxidants which can reduce stress hormones in the body.
On the other hand, over indulging in fatty foods can be harmful to your stress levels. Low levels of fibre and high levels of sugar in the body can cause glucose levels to spike, which then raises the stress hormone cortisol.
One of the anxieties that you might feel surrounding results day could be that you don’t know what’s going to happen next. But although you can’t change the results you’ve received this year, you can prepare yourself for all situations.
Of course, most students hope that they’ll get the grades they’ve been predicted (or exceed them), but you must consider other outcomes. Do your research on alternative courses and universities that you could apply for through Clearing if you don’t reach your grades. Practise what to say on the telephone and have plenty of back-up options so that you don’t choose the first one that brings you an offer.
Alternatively, you might receive higher grades than predicted! In this situation, you might want to consider going through adjustment. This is where you can apply to universities that you may not have been eligible for when you only had your predicted grades. Again, you should have a back-up list of these universities and know which ones you’d like to apply for.
Doing preparations like this can help you to feel calmer about the day, knowing that if you don’t get your results, there are other options.
Follow our top stress relief tips to keep calm before results day!