It’s exam season, and many students and parents are starting to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Whether you are pulling an all-nighter to complete more practice questions or scheduling some last-minute consultations to quell your queries, it can be easy to neglect your mental health during this trying period.

The pressure to do well academically may get in the heads of most students and parents. Read on to find out some of the practical mental health and wellness tips you can practice to gear up for the exam season.

Don’t Neglect Your Meals

Mental Health Eat Healthy

When you are pressed for time, it can be tempting to indulge in quick meals or junk food – the likes of fast-food meals, cup noodles and chips. In fact, it is not uncommon to see students skipping their meals altogether. It is important to eat healthy in the lead up towards and during the exam season. Consider consuming more food rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as fruits and vegetables to bolster your immune system. You should also hydrate yourself well throughout the day too!

Get Moving

Exercise Mental Health

With study from home being the new normal, you may feel cooped up or lethargic from being confined to your study station. Consider taking a quick stroll in the park or do simple exercises to release some feel-good endorphins and de-stress. In fact, you only need 15 minutes to feel the stress relieving effects.

It’s Okay To Ask For Help

Talking to Others Mental Health

If you have been feeling frustrated or stressed lately, you should confide your woes with people you trust. Talking is never a sign of weakness. There is value in opening up and sharing your concerns with a trusted friend, your family, or even seeking professional help. In fact, in a recent online webinar Study Tips That *Just Make Sense*, which featured panelists Minister of State Alvin Tan, psychologist Dr Geraldine and NUS LAW undergraduate and YouTuber Mr Leon Ngiam, Mr Ngiam shared how reaching out to a counsellor during his JC years helped him manage his stress and regulate his emotions.

“I’ll share this very candidly because I don’t think that’s a shame to say that you have to see a counsellor,” he adds.

Pace Yourself

Mental Health meditation

It would be wise to follow a study plan and while you are at it, do break down your objectives into manageable chunks. Allocate some down time throughout the day to take a breather or two. Take these periods of down time to engage do your laundry, exercise, clean your room, or even head to the supermarket. You would be surprised to know how taking your mind of things can help you feel better.

Failing Can Be Empowering

The fear of failure or not measuring up to standard may be an indicator of having a perfectionistic mindset. But the truth is, no one is perfect, and we all have our own flaws. Your failures or lack of perfection do not define who you are.

In the same webinar, Minister of State Alvin Tan recounted his experience retaining a year in his Junior College. “When you repeat a year and you see all your friends move up, you will remember that moment,” he admits. And yet, instead of letting his ‘failure’ define who he was, the mental health advocate proudly shares his experience with local youths to better connect with and empower others.

He adds, “When you fail or have a setback, you can turn that into something where eventually you can let people know, ‘Hey, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I know exactly how it feels, it’s not so bad.’”

Check out the full video here:

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.