The first thing to remember is that you CAN do this. Year 12 is a scary and exciting year all wrapped up in one. But when it comes down to it, even at its most stressful, just remember you’ve made it this far.
The first step in looking after your mental health is to believe that you can do it. Believe that throughout the year you have the brainpower, guts, determination and friends/family to help you through.
Doing other activities such as exercise, art or playing music are all different ways of spending some time away from the stress.
This can often help put things in perspective, especially if you’re stuck on a question or topic. Taking some time away from it all might help you figure out the answer you’re looking for.
Staying grounded is all about making sure you take some time for yourself. It’s about reflecting on where you’re at and what you still have to achieve.
Trying meditation techniques such as yoga, tai chi or listening to soothing podcasts can all help clear your mind and refocus your brain.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of maintaining good headspace. Sleep helps to consolidate what you’ve learnt over the day and makes sure your body is rested.
It means that you’ll be ready for the next day and your mindset has a chance to reset.
Maintaining your friendships and family relationships is one part of keeping a healthy mental space. Although it may not seem like it at the time, spending time with friends and family can ensure that you’re having a much-needed break from studying.
It also means that if you do start to struggle you have some social supports you can lean on to help you get through. There’s no shame in talking to someone if you need the help.
Remember, one small mistake or one bad test result is not the end. I remember during my year 12 studies I struggled to continue to push through to the end of the year.
This really didn’t help my mental health and, reflecting on it, knowing that there is an end date was a big relief. There’s a summer to enjoy after exams! Try planning something nice for after your final exam to look forward to – this will help keep you motivated.
Lastly and most importantly, the best thing you can do for your mental health is to talk to someone about it. If you have tried all these techniques and you still don’t feel like yourself, there is no shame in asking for help.
Mental health is extremely important, especially during a period of high stress. You don’t have to do it alone and chances are someone else is feeling the exact same way. So if you need it, reach out.
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