May Your Mental Health Be Your Priority
Examination time is usually the time of the year we focus less on our mental well-being. This is a reminder to prioritise it.
It is that time of the year again where exams overwhelm students across campuses, leaving many of us stressed, worried and spending many days and nights studying as much as we possibly can. Whilst this is considered the ‘norm’ at any educational institution, it must be reminded, once again, how important your mental well-being is, especially during these difficult times of the year.
Mental Health issues have been affecting our campus, like many others, for various reasons. Students are impacted by it due to personal, circumstantial, societal, financial and academic reasons. The causes of mental illness are endless but are becoming more prevalent on our campus on the daily.
During the exam period, it may be extremely tough for you and the waves of uncertainty regarding your well-being may be an addition to your stress. I believe it is important to do what you can in managing your stress levels so that you may also have some control over your mental health too. Stressors inevitably influence your mental health and therefore, will play a role in your overall study schedule too.
Take breaks. Now I am expecting the usual eye-roller here because people often disregard or say they already do take breaks. However, taking breaks is crucial to giving your mind a rest. Whether it is going for a walk to the Botanical Gardens, watching something on YouTube or simply meditating, giving your mind 5–10 minutes off per hour is crucial. Psychologists often recommend exercising in your weekly plan in order to remain physically and mentally active.
Don’t forget to socialise. This is the time of the year where you are expected to be locked away in a tower, studying your life away, but do not let that create an imbalance of social interactions. Being able to see a friend for coffee or simply having a time to vent and hang out is always important. If you’re battling during the examination time, do not keep it to yourself. It will fester and eat away at you.
Your diet matters. You may have heard someone saying this to you before, but keep it in mind to eat properly during the study period. During stressful periods, people tend to either not eat at all or they will eat, but it will be too much junk food. If you feel that you fall into either category, consider adding a nutritional eating plan to your study plan.
A healthy mind is the epitome of an overall healthy person. I know these exams are bound to stress you out, and you may be worried. But you are not alone. The entire Stellenbosch community is in this together, and it is vital that we watch out for one another. I wish you all the best and remember: your mental health is more important than the percentage on your exam paper.