Taking exams and waiting for the results can be an extremely worrying time for young people.

Parents and teachers might be piling pressure on you to do well, and that only adds to the pressure you’re putting on yourself to achieve the grades you want.

Your stress levels might be particularly high if you also suffer from anxiety or low mood.

Stress can sometimes make it difficult to recognise your feelings.

Take a minute to read some of the symptoms associated with stress:

  • You feel short-tempered and impatient
  • You feel anxious or nervous
  • You feel like you can’t switch off
  • You suffer from headaches
  • You might be eating too much or too little

You can find a longer list of symptoms on the NHS website.

To start with, you may want to consider self-help. Take time to listen to your own needs and feelings and step away from revision for a while! Some self-help options are:

  • Relaxation and breathing exercises
  • Talking about your feelings to a friend or family member
  • Getting regular, light exercise
  • Set small targets you can easily achieve
  • Reducing caffeine, sugar and alcohol
  • Eating a balanced diet

You can read a guide for dealing with pressure on the Mind website.

You can access free online courses designed help you to understand how you’re feeling and to consider different methods of reducing stress.

Talking therapies, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), could help you manage your stress. CBT tries to change the way you react to situations by adjusting the way you think and behave with ‘coping skills’.

Sometimes it may be recommended that you use medication to reduce your symptoms of stress. You can see a list of medicines we might offer you on our Choice and Medication portal.

If you’re in a mental health crisis and need urgent help, call the Single Point of Access on (01472) 256256 and select option 3. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 free from a landline or mobile phone.

If you’d rather text than talk on the phone, you can text ORANGE to 85258 to contact a trained volunteer from Shout. They’ll be able to help you reach a place of calm and, if necessary, signpost you to local services. This is a free, 24/7 service.​​​​

You may feel much better once your final exam is out of the way, but if feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood continue, there is help available.

NHS Talking Therapies offers a range of therapies aimed at helping you to deal with the effects of stress, anxiety and depression and should be your first port of call if you’re looking for support. You can self-refer to NHS Talking Therapies online.

If you’re under 16, speak to your GP, who may be able to refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Safespace provides instant support if you’re vulnerable and need assistance with your mental health out-of-hours. You can speak to the team using Zoom or by calling in via telephone, between 6pm and 10pm, Monday to Friday.

Kooth is an online mental wellbeing community with free, safe and anonymous support for young people through live chat. You can sign up here.

Orcha Apps Library: This library lists thousands of NHS-approved health apps by condition, making it quick and easy for you to find support.

Young Minds: Young Minds have put together some top tips to help you through the stressful exam period. 

Mind: The national charity gives lots of advice and information on stress including a guide to developing resilience.

NHS Stress Busters: The NHS have brought together ten tips to reduce stress levels and link to useful resources centred around exercise, time management and accepting change.

Student Minds: Working towards achieving a degree can be particularly stressful, but Student Minds have advice to deal with it. 

BBC Food: Can you give yourself an advantage just by looking at your nutrition around exam time? 

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