Coping with exam stress

This week there are about 1.5 million people in the UK juggling long, stress filled days, working late into the night and coping with high levels of pressure and worry. Well, 1.5 million more than usual that is.

GCSE exams have begun, and our 16 year olds are now under constant focus for the next few weeks, as are those now doing A-levels, university degrees and any other end of year examinations. Those of use who are past school age may not remember the anxiety and stress of these months, but any parent can see the effect on our children.

As tensions rise, you may find your child starts to exhibit signs of stress – increased headaches, lack of sleep and feeling more emotional – and want to know how you can help them. So, here are some simple tips to help your child to relax more and worry less about their exams.

Take a break

It sounds obvious, but taking time away from revision is important. Take a look at their revision timetable and ensure there are regular breaks scheduled in, plan time for walks or getting out in the fresh air, or add in a few treats.

Taking time away from the books will not only refresh the body, it refreshes the mind as well. Stress will ease off – and they will find it easier to retain information as well, making revision more effective.

Provide some parental encouragement

As parents we obviously want our children to do well and we want to be involved. Helping them plan their revision schedule and encouraging them to stick to it is fine – but we also need to be aware of the amount of pressure we add to them ourselves.

Take them up a cup of tea or snack at regular intervals – just as you would like someone to bring you a cuppa at work. Make sure they are eating properly at meal times, and forget about their share of house chores for a few weeks. As we all know, when the workload increases, having someone to chat to is a great way of letting off some steam.

A little treatment goes a long way

If your child is really struggling with exam stress, or you would just like to treat them to a little time out, then consider a holistic treatment. Reflexology is non-invasive, involving pressure points on the feet or hands, and is a wonderful way to release anxiety, leading to better sleep and relief from headaches.


Indian Head massage is a great help for tight muscles in the shoulders and neck – think about all that leaning over a desk late at night, and you’ll find this is a well-deserved treat. Meanwhile, a Reiki treatment is a great way to relax, and helps to clear the mind, leaving it revitalised and ready for a bit more cramming.

A balance between work and play

The key to getting through exams is a balance between working hard, and taking time to refresh the mind and relax the body. Keep an eye on your child as they study, and jump in when you think they need a break.

If you’d like to book your son or daughter in for a treatment, I am a fully DBS checked therapist. With two children of my own of school age, I completely understand the pressure school examinations can bring. Let’s do what we can to help them through the next few weeks.