Exam stress in the house?

We may be looking forward to summer holidays and pulling out the shorts and T-shirts, but the smell of the cut grass and the long bright evenings spell one thing for many – Exams!
It is the most stressful time of the year, bringing fear and dread to families across the country as parents prepare their sons and daughters for the next few weeks. We are making sure they are eating right, getting enough sleep and have all the pens, protractors and calculators they need…..

But what can we tell them to ease their minds, comfort their anxieties and help them – and us – through it. How can we reassure them so they know that, no matter what, these tests do not define them – that they are more than that – and that the world has so much in store for them ..

This morning on Tipp Today, Fran spoke to Joannes Berkery, our resident psychotherapist on how we can help our children cope with the trauma of the next couple of weeks…

Joannes explained that there are a few things we can do to help:


‘Its very important to keep your diet as balanced as possible. Don’t have the highs of sugar and lows of fasting. Just graze throughout the day!
Make sure that there is food in the house for them when they need it. If your son or daughter likes celery and hummous or chicken goujons, then buy the best quality that you can find, have stashes of them in the fridge when you need them… keep the food healthy..


Drink lots of water – we need it to avoid ‘brain fog’. Its not just about having a glass of water before you go into the exam hall. Start today and continuously drink water so that you build up your hydration levels.
The exam hall may be hot too so bring a spray bottle of water and maybe some lemongrass and spray your face to keep yourself alert in the heat.


Try to empty your mind each day; take some deep breaths, have a half and hour morning and evening without your phone, take a walk in nature ( barefoot if you can) and clear your mind of the frantic thoughts, noise and stress – ground yourself.


In a world of typing and texting, it is physically very difficult to suddenly be able to write for up to 6 hours each day for the next couple of weeks!
Put your fingers together as if they are forming a beak of a bird, and circle your wrists 9 times one way and 9 times the other way – as if your fingers are drawing a circle – do this about 10 times each day starting now.


Stress magnifies stress..!

Parents and siblings need to give the exam student in the house a wide berth. Let them be nasty, let them have space; they need to let go of some of their built up stress.. they are irritable and worried.
The house needs to be kept calm. Its just a couple of weeks.

In spite of all the worries, remind them its merely a stepping stone.. their life is unfolding as it should…. that this is the way it is. You are not defined by your exams. Life presents wonderful opportunities in all forms and you are enough just as you are!