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Mental Health Awareness Week – What is it? Find Out Now.

The Theme

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from Monday 13 – Sunday 19 May 2024. The theme, as set by the Mental Health Foundation, is “Movement: moving for our mental health.” This year, they are promoting ways to move your body and mind!

Movement matters!

Relaxing and chilling out is great, but physical activity is just as, if not more, important for the wellbeing of both body and mind.

Many studies have shown that exercise reduces anxiety and depression, and it can help prevent physical illnesses. A sad fact is that, people living with mental illness tend to have a shorter life span than the general population, frequently from avoidable physical illnesses.

Research conducted by Mental Health UK showed that “56% of people found that exercising regularly helped them to alleviate stress and prevent burnout in their lives.”

It doesn’t have to cost…

People automatically think about going to the gym, joining a club or taking up a new sport when they think about exercising. But you don’t have to do this. If you get the bus to work or school, walk to the next bus stop along, get off a bus stop earlier and add more steps to your day. Do you pass by a park, walk through it for a while, stop at the swings walk around the pond/lake if you are lucky enough to have one near. Or put on Spotify/YouTube and dance to your favourite tracks before you start homework…or housework if you are an adult!

There can be many obstacles in your way to starting exercise and Mental Health UK has come up with some suggestions to help you overcome any psychological and emotional issues, physical health problems, financial difficulties, time constraints and factors such as the weather, access to suitable outdoor space or leisure facilities, determining what you can and can’t take part in.

Exam Stress

Yes, it is THAT time of year, exams season has started and you may have already completed your first exam of 2024. It is hard to do, but really important that you try and stay as calm as possible for the next few weeks.

There are many websites out there with advice for parents on how to support your child, and for students there are many tips on how to get organised and feel less stressed over the coming weeks. They cover topics such as; coping with exam pressure, how to deal with exam stress, revision tips, dealing with disappointing results and how to get help.

Check out Young Minds, Mind, NHS, and for those at Uni Student Minds. There are probably many more out there offering the same or similar advice, you may find another out there that appeals to you more, it doesn’t matter as long as you seek out help or follow some of the suggestions to help you navigate through the next few weeks.

Some quotes from students describing exam stress:

“Like a weight placed on top of you. While you want to succeed, I find it really difficult to because of the pressure.”

“Knowing you have so much to do in so little time. Imagining how you know you’re going to fail and feeling so stupid because you simply can’t remember anything.”

“Where I’m constantly feeling overwhelmed by the idea of studying or doing the exams and it causes me to lose focus. This lack of focus leads to me feeling like I’m going to fail and adds to the stress – like a snowball effect.”

“All of these negative emotions were built up inside of me and I didn’t know what to do with them.”

https://www.mind.org.uk/for-young-people/feelings-and-experiences/exam-stress/#WhatIsExamStress

What to do

  • Be kind to yourself
  • Talk about how you are feeling
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Ask for help – tricks and tips to revise etc
  • Make sure you have any access requirements in place – TAKE your extra time if awarded this!
  • Be part of a study group
  • Be organised
  • Try out relaxation techniques
  • Reward yourself – little treats such as watching an episode of your favourite show in between revision
  • Eat properly
  • Try to sleep well
  • Exercise
  • Take breaks
  • Keep it in perspective – exams aren’t everything
  • Don’t set unrealistic goals
  • Lastly, but most importantly, if you’re feeling ​overwhelmed or are finding it difficult to cope with the stress around exams, ​make sure you get support.

Good luck

So to all those preparing for, and sitting exams I wish you the best of luck!

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