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5 Self-care tips during exam season

15 April 2021

Whilst preparing for exams, it’s vital to look after your mental and physical health. To help, UCL student Tomi Haffety notes her 5 top tips for self-care during exam season.

5 Self-care tips during exam season

Self-care, self-love and listening to your body are all integral parts of feeling more relaxed when going into exam season. 

To help me cope, I’ve made an extra effort to look after myself in ways that I know will help me reset and feel prepared for the weeks ahead. 

Here are some strategies everyone can do which can easily fit your own schedule and daily life. 


1. Make yourself regular balanced meals throughout the week

It’s easy to let work get on top of you and forget about the importance of having a balanced diet. 

Eating well and regularly taking the time to learn how to cook or bake provides a sense of achievement that comes from cooking yourself (or others) a hearty meal. 

Using YouTube recipe videos like ‘The Happy Pear’, ‘Yeung Man Cooking’ or even watching a quick ‘Buzzfeed Tasty’ video can help to stir some inspiration in your cooking schedule.

Something that helps me is planning my meals for the week ahead as I can buy food selectively, saving myself money and minimising food waste.

2. Keep a thought journal

Use your thought journal to write down any stressful thoughts you may have to track your feelings throughout the exam period and see exactly what makes you happy and sad.

This is something that can be quite hard to follow, and so setting time aside to do this can help immensely with sleep, anxiety, and overthinking. 

Before I go to bed, I will often write down what I did that day and how I felt at different points. 

Not only does this decompress thoughts that are whizzing around and keeping me awake, but it also gives me an opportunity to read back through my journal and know what I was doing on a given day.

3. Spend time on your own and away from a screen

It’s easy to forget that spending time enjoying your own company is important for self-care and getting back in touch with your feelings.

At certain points of the day, take a small portion of time to do something that you enjoy by yourself. 

For me, this is often watching a film or having lunchbreaks by myself at the library. Exercise can also act as great alone time. 

4. Take breaks with friends

Although becoming comfortable with your own company is an important part of self-care, spending some time with friends can help to make you feel energised and relaxed.

This could be once a week, such as the weekend or when you decide to give yourself time off from studying.

Be proactive in reaching out to your friends, including new ones. This year has been socially unprecedented, and so everyone is equally as nervous about reaching out to people they may not know too well.

5. Don’t let your grades define how you feel

Put a big emphasis on continuing to do the things that make you happy by writing a list of your interests and ensuring you dedicate a few evenings a week to pursuing them.

Easily forgotten but extremely important is the notion that even though you are here to get a degree, your degree is not the only component of your university life. 

Make sure you prioritise your mental and physical health and remember that you made it to UCL, which is an applaudable achievement in itself. 

Image credit: J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash