4 tips for eating and staying healthy when stressing about exams


–Written by Hayley Payne. Originally published on The Griffith Collective

Here we go! It’s that super fun time of the semester when we have a bunch of exams, group assignments and essays due. As we draw closer towards the end of the year when life gets really crazy, sleeping goes out the window and stress takes hold.

With most of our days consumed by studying or at least thoughts of it… We dive at any food that is simple, available, cheap and satisfies the sugar cravings. Chocolate, lollies, chips, frozen meals, noodles, litres of coffee, energy drinks and basically anything that comes pre-packaged and ready to eat.

Ironically, keeping our bodies fuelled with nutritious foods is a far better way to stay focused, energised and performing at our best during busy times. So how do we do it?

Plan meal breaks
While this may sound obvious, many students completely forget to eat throughout the day when studying for exams.

When you have early classes it is easy to forget breakfast, then to maybe accidentally study through lunch.

Once 3pm arrives those afternoon cravings kick in and before you know it you’ve finished an entire pizza, two blocks of chocolate and three coffees – and you’re probably feeling pretty bad about it too.

By planning meal breaks into your day you can ensure that you’re fuelling your body sufficiently and can avoid overeating when your body starts to think you’re starving yourself.

Eat simple foods
We get it, students just don’t have time to cook delicious and nutritious meals during busy periods. This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat healthy foods though as there are tonnes of recipes on the internet for simple, healthy meals that only use around four ingredients.

Get your meal prep game on and spend an hour preparing all your week’s snacks on a Monday afternoon. That way you have the rest of the week full of healthy foods and no stress about what you’re going to eat next.

Study smart
Waking up with the knowledge that the entire day will be spent studying isn’t the greatest. However, if you spend your study time wisely the day could fly by smoothly and productively.

Plan in breaks every hour or so to stand up and stretch. While your studying, ensure that you’re set up in an ergonomic position to avoid back and neck pain.

Whether you’re at home or on campus, move around throughout the day. Perhaps start in the library, then move to a coffee shop, then to an outdoor table and so on.

By moving around and getting some fresh air you won’t feel like a complete zombie at the end of the day.

If you don’t already, now is a very good time to start practicing some meditation techniques to help your stress levels and find some focus before the really busy time of semester begins.

There are some great apps out there, such as the Headspace app that can really help out when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Plus, if you ever need some advice or a listening ear you can head to Student Services to access health services, counselling, chaplaincy and more.

Good luck with everything and always remind yourself that you’ve got this. Be sure to share any tips you have below!