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How to have a mental break after a big set of exams

By Simon Hennessy on 5 September 2019NSWblogUKblogMotivation

Exams are over, which in itself should be enough for a loud sigh of relief. But unwinding properly isn’t easy when your dreams are still full of horrible images like getting to the exam without a pen or forgetting how to spell your own name.

So here are a few tips to help you balance the scales and get back to normal for a bit:

1. Don’t study

It sounds obvious, but it is worth saying. Do not study. Not ever again, obviously - there are more exams to come in about a month 😅, but that’s the distant future. Give yourself a set, designated time period off studying, and stick to it. I would usually recommend giving yourself till graduation, and then after that you can start up again. You’ve earned it!

2. Don’t go back through the question paper more than once

Personally, I would say don’t go back through the papers at all until you get your results and answers back, but for some, the temptation to revisit the exam and agonize over what you might have done differently, even before you get the mark back, is too strong. Ok, fine, go ahead. But honestly, do that any more than once and you’re just setting yourself up for more misery. Let the torture end there.

3. Get some quality friend and family time in

The buildup to exams can be a lonely time, and ironically, there’s nothing more isolating than sitting in an exam hall facing down your paper. Reconnecting with your nearest and dearest once you’ve come through the other end of the ringer is key. Go to the movies with the fam, head to a party with your mates – just make sure you don’t spend the whole time discussing the exams. That would kind of defeat the purpose.

4. Get some outdoors time

Even the students who are most committed to maintaining the exercise-study lifestyle probably had to make some sacrifices with regards to the great outdoors. Now’s the time to correct the balance. Go for a run, head to the beach, take a walk in the park, or even just sitting outside for 30 mins listening to some music will do the job. Even if you’re not a big outdoorsy person, the fresh air will do a world of good for blowing away those post-exam cobwebs.

5. Sleep, a lot

You’ve earned it. Even if you’ve been keeping a solid sleep schedule through exam season, the mental exertion of study and exam stress means you’re overdue for some solid 10-hour shifts. Obviously, we’re not suggesting you miss any school mornings (so don’t tell your teacher “Atomi told me to sleep in!”). Let’s be honest though, sleep is what the weekend is for, so take full advantage.

6. Rekindle a sidelined hobby

Something had to be pushed aside for study. Maybe it was a particular sport, your musical instrument, or just your favourite Xbox game. Now it’s time to embrace this old friend once more and rekindle that relationship. Once the next set of exams rolls around, there’s a good chance you’ll have to tear yourself away from this again, so use this time to get in the blissful distraction you deserve.

7. Binge your favourite show

Just binge it. Go hard. See how many seasons you can watch in a day. Then top that the next day. Enjoy.


The unfortunate truth is that exam season will come around again, in whatever shape or form it next takes. But right now, you deserve to put your feet up and relax, so go for it.

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