Exam season is here!

Exam stress

Exam season is officially here! Much to the dismay of many of you out there. Exams are one of those things that you have to do, but nobody likes them and the stress of them can cause sleepless nights. Well done schooling system, bravo.

Exams were a great source of stress to me when I was at school, to the point where I would have a timetable of when to write a timetable for timetabling the revision, in a timetable. You know what I mean.

So I have compiled a list of handy tips to help you prepare for your exams. They are things I used to find helpful and I hope you do to.

Here goes:

1.Find your optimum time of day to revise. Have a think, or even a test, to decide if you revise better in the morning or the evening, or the afternoon. I revise best first thing in the morning, my concentration is better. But I have friends who can work until midnight and get lots done. I know that after 9pm, my brain turns off. Like there is some sort of a switch in there or something. So I knew I would get the most effective revision done by getting up early and doing my revision first thing in the morning.

2. Find a work space that suits the conditions you need to revise. This maybe your bedroom, or the kitchen table or your school library. Once you have decided where you are going to revise, you can tell your family that you are off to revise and you would appreciate not being disturbed! I need complete silence so I can talk out loud, meaning a shared room at home was not ideal for me and people gave me funny looks in the library at school so I decided that revising in my bedroom on my own was going to be my best option!

3. Grab everything you need before you sit down to revise. I used to get a glass of water, some snacks (preferably healthy ones but you know…) and all the books I would need. I would then, as hard as it was, put my phone in another room. My theory was that I could use my breaks to get up and have a little walk about and check my phone. Having a change of scenery made me feel a bit more refreshed and ready for more revision. Getting up and having a walk also helps to loosen your stiff body after sitting at a desk for ages.

4. Which brings me nicely to this: Remember to give yourself some relaxation time! Whatever relaxes you. A bath, watching a film, listening to music. If you work so hard that you burn yourself out, then by the time you come to sit your exams, you will be exhausted! So remember to schedule some time to switch off and relax. And don’t feel bad when you are relaxing. If you are working hard the rest of the time then you deserve a break!

5. During your whole exam/revision period, try and go to bed at a reasonable time to make sure you are refreshed for the next day, be it an exam or revision day. Having a good night’s sleep will do you the world of good. Particularly if you are having a bad day, a good night’s sleep will hopefully put you in a better mood for the next day.

6. Have a playlist on your phone or Ipod that gets you all pumped and ready to tackle your exams. Listen to it every morning or on your way to school for your exam. My suggestions of songs would be the classic Eye of the Tiger, maybe Fighter by Christina Aguilera? Or thinking out of the box, I’m Sexy and I Know It (!). Not only will the power of music make you feel more up for it, but having a dance will relax you and let’s face it, who doesn’t love having a dance as you get ready for school in a morning?!

7. It is exam day. You have done the whole lining up outside the exam hall thing, trying not to listen to your peers talking about how stressed they are (not helpful. To anyone. Why do they do it?). But here you are, looking at an exam paper, your stomach churning. First thing is first. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Open your eyes and you are ready to go, calmly. Open your paper and read each question. Read them slowly and more than once. Sometimes your brain does this cute thing when you are stressed, it makes you read the question that you want to come up, rather than the actual words that are in front of you. How helpful. So read each question super carefully. Block out that annoying kid next to you who is already writing furiously. They will get a hand cramp soon and stop. Just concentrate on what you are doing.

8. Have faith in yourself. Find an inspiring quote, find a friend to talk to who is positive, make plans after an exam so you have something to look forward to. Whatever it takes to make you believe that you can get through the exam and produce answers to the best of your ability. That is honestly half of the battle. And it is a battle you can win! So push on young warrior and do your best. I believe in you.

If you have any advice that really helps you during exam season, feel free to tweet it to @notfallingover and I will retweet it to share with everyone. Or you can leave a comment at the Instagram page: notfallingoverblog

If any of you feeling like you need some further advice for dealing with this kind of stress, I have found a very useful website called Better Help. They specialise in connecting people with counsellors over the Internet for help, but their Advice section on the website https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/ contains loads of amazing articles that are so helpful for lots of different kinds of stress. Please check it out, it is full of helpful hints and tips.

And finally, good luck to everyone who is doing exams at the moment. Let me know how you get on! You will smash them!!

You can do this

Sarah x

Be Crayjust

This weekend I had the pleasure of exploring the Mind, Body and Soul exhibition at Event City, Manchester. I had never been before so I had no idea what to expect. The event was coupled with the Yoga show and Vegan Life Live so it was guaranteed to have something to interest everyone.

mind body soul programme

There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to start! So, obviously, I went methodically up and down the rows so no stall was missed! What can I say? I like order!

There was lots of different products and stall holders there but one lady was particularly interesting.

Sharon Corbett has set up a project called Picture This. She goes into schools and colleges using her love of photography and creative writing to get children to think about their life goals and things they want to achieve, while promoting self confidence and self identity. Sharon was so moved by the work being produced by these young individuals, she decided to make their affirmations and powerful messages into a book for all to read, named: BE CRAYJUST: REAL LIFE MOTIVATION BY REAL LIFE PEOPLE. It was amazing to read, especially when Sharon said that the children who contributed to the book were between 8 and 15 years old. The thoughts and positive messages these young people were wanting to share with the world were humorous, thought provoking, emotional but most of all, they were inspiring.

Sharon had some postcards made up for the Exhibition and I bought the selection below.

picture-this-postcards.jpeg

The wording on these postcards really spoke to me and I think they have such important messages. There is a lot in the media about ‘loving yourself’ and retaliating against ‘body-shaming’ but it is quite often forgotten that you should be loving the life you are living too. In amongst the struggle of exams and homework, it is hard to feel like you have control over what your life looks like, but it is so true. You have the power to create a life that you love. Strive for a job you want to do. Work towards a qualification that enables you to have the best experiences and meet the best people. As said above, ‘Follow the path that makes you, YOU!’

‘When in darkness, seek out the light.’ resonates heavily with me. I know from experience that when life is getting you down, it is very hard to see the positive in any situation. But it is when you are at your weakest that you need to make the decision to change how you think. You have to ‘see the light’. You have to be brave enough to get yourself out of the darkness. And it is so possible. You can do it. To have a young person write such a powerful message was very moving to me.

This project is a non-profit organisation. Sharon said the money she makes from selling the books and postcards gets put back into the project, which will enable more books to be published in the future. What an honour it was to meet her.

Give the project a follow on Facebook at: @BeCrayjust

Thank you Sharon, for putting such time and effort and affection into teaching young people about self identity and positive thinking. Our school system is so focused on statistics and grades, they are not teaching young people to find themselves and work towards creating a positive life for themselves, even though currently, suicide is the biggest killer of teenagers, having overtaken road accidents, making projects like these so important.

Sarah x

 

Hypnotherapy and Panic Attacks

 

hypnotherapy post header

In my last post, I discussed my experiences with panic attacks, which was very well received. Thank you very much for your positive feedback about it.

I have not posted a blog post for a while because I have been on holiday. 18 months ago, me and my two friends had a crazy idea to save up for an amazing tourist trip to California. We planned for the whole 18 months, deciding what we were going to do, where we were going to eat, everything.

As it got closer to us going, I was plagued by this niggle I usually get before a holiday. My fear of flying. Just thinking about stepping in the airport filled me with dread. Hot flushes, stomach back flips, wobbly legs, the works.

Going to America was also going to be the first time I had flown without my Mum to help me through it. Holding her hand during take off and landing, and her rubbing my arm when I started to hyperventilate helped me through the stress of a flight. I wasn’t going to have that this time, and I really didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of my friends or the other passengers. So I needed a plan.

And into my life stepped Julie! I met Julie at a business networking session over a year ago and she talked so passionately about how hypnotherapy could help a variety of problems, I thought I would give it a go. I gave her a call and asked if she could help with my fear of flying and she reassured me that it was a common stress and she was sure she could help me.

I did not really know anything about hypnotherapy, other than what you see in films: someone swinging a pendulum and getting the recipient to do silly things when a certain word was mentioned.

Within a few minutes of talking to Julie, I realised that this was not what hypnotherapy was about at all. We talked for a long time about how I was feeling, both with flying and other things, including the panic attacks. I talked a lot about my low self esteem and how I felt it was holding me back in life. Julie not only listened to me (and passed the tissues), but assured me that how I was feeling was normal and common amongst others, and that I had the power within myself to change the way I think. Julie was very particular in making sure I understood that I had the power within me to change the way I thought. She would just be helping me through it. This feeling of empowerment I think has contributed to me getting so much out of the experience.

I was a little nervous when Julie told me to close my eyes and imagine myself in a beautiful place. But I found the visualisations and the journey I was undertaking very calming. I found myself relaxing into the chair I was sitting in and releasing the hypnotic sigh as I allowed myself to fully participate in the visualisations.

We talked about what had happened in my life that had influenced the way I felt in the present. School bullies, work pressures, health issues etc. Julie helped me work through them and release them from my thought process. It was so enlightening. I could literally feel the weight lift from my shoulders. I could feel my excitement for life returning after being squashed and shushed by my anxieties.

Julie also taught me some techniques to use when I am in a stressful situation, both physical things to do when I can feel a panic attack happening, and psychological things to do when I need a good talking to!

I am trying very hard to put into words how amazing I feel having had such an empowering experience. It is like someone has turned the light back on, lit the fire in my belly again. I have so many things I want to achieve in my life, so many things I want to see, or try, or do, but like most people, when the rejections and stresses knock you back, it is hard to keep your morale up. Hypnotherapy has boosted my mental state and more importantly, taught me techniques to keep myself up there.

And for that I will be eternally grateful to Julie and her teachings. Julie’s details will be at the bottom of the page and on my social media profiles.

Last week I returned from America having spent 27 hours on an aeroplane over two weeks and not a single panicky moment! I had never thought about hypnotherapy as an option for helping with life’s stresses but it has been life changing.

Sarah x

 

Julie Widdowson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliewiddowsonhypnotherapy/

Website: http://www.juliewiddowson.co.uk