Mrs Chilton
Head of Student Wellbeing

“So Stressed”

Often in the playground or the classroom, we hear the girls talking about how “stressed” they are. Particularly at this time of year during examination periods. One of the messages we try to instil in the girls is that stress is not inherently a bad thing. Stress is a motivator. We encourage girls to use their stress to their advantage during this period of exams rather than allowing it to overwhelm them. Feeling a bit of nervous energy or uncertainty in the lead-up to an examination, sporting match or performance is completely natural! Life is full of tests! We know that facing challenges and doing the best we can despite feeling nervous helps us grow stronger and more confident.

Peers can play such an important role in helping prepare each other for examinations. Some students like to quiz one another or study together. Others prefer to keep the schoolwork talk to a minimum before an exam and distract one another. Help your daughter identify who or what makes her feel most calm and prepared prior to an exam. At times, peers can feed the “stress”! Girls can inadvertently cause each other extra stress in the lead-up to an examination by engaging in unhelpful banter or comparison. Encourage your daughter to be on the lookout for unhelpful dynamics amongst her friends during this period.

Here are a few key messages you can instil in your daughter as she manages the extra pressure of this examination period:

  • Understand that the increased heartbeat and the butterflies in your stomach are signs of excitement or anticipation, not necessarily fear, and are not only normal but are motivating.
  • Try to reframe your thinking around the exam – this is an opportunity to show the teachers what you know, and you know a lot more about this than you did at the start of this year!
  • Surround yourself with friends who are building one another up and encouraging each other – do not get caught up in the “comparison trap” right before an examination.
  • Have a good routine. Make sure you are getting enough sleep (not late-night cramming – which does not work anyway!), eating breakfast, moving your body each day, and not spending too much time on your screen at night.
  • Be careful of distractions. Perhaps a detox from your phone this week might help you to focus your attention.
  • Keep things in perspective. It is just an exam. Plan ahead and think about something to do to enjoy yourself after this exam! What can you look forward to?

Many things can lead to feeling stressed. Stress is inevitable. How we learn to recognise it and respond to it is so important for our overall wellbeing and ability to demonstrate our capabilities.