With the Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams this month and the holiday season just around the corner, it is important to start thinking now about how best to manage stress, especially how to help our young adults facing such a demanding and critical series of tests.
Our young adults are already stressed. Statistics show our young adults are more stressed than adults, have the highest rates of anxiety and depression and 80% believe that stress is impacting their health. On the other hand, our young adults emphasise a healthy lifestyle and are more likely to have a plan to make positive change than other age groups.
Signs of stress include anxiety, tension, procrastinating, fatigue, insomnia and feeling overwhelmed. Stress is a natural physiological reaction designed to make us perform better, however, chronic stress though can lead to obesity, depression and low immunity.
So here are some tips on how best to help our students facing the HSC, as well as anyone else feeling highly stressed:
Exercise – exercise causes the release of the feel-good endorphins, an easy way to release tension. Doing exercise outside is even better as we get Vitamin D boosting sunshine, plus studies show that being amongst nature is an excellent mood booster
Sleep – sleep is important for body repair and restoration but also for immunity and mental health. Although natural for some to forgo sleep in an effort to have more time to study, it is crucial that our hardworking students get much-needed rest. Aim for at 8-10 hours each night.
Eat nutritious foods – much like sleep, a healthy diet is quickly forgotten in the throes of studying and testing. But having healthy foods that nourish the body is so important during periods of high stress. Healthy proteins, good fats, green leafy vegetables plus colourful fruit will all help fuel the mind and body.
Get organised – having a manageable plan, setting goals and appropriate rewards all help to contribute to lower levels of stress. The surety of how best to handle the many demands of the HSCs together with rewards to acknowledge the hard work put forward can all help lower stress levels.
Seek out help – there are times when the stress becomes unmanageable, and additional help and support are needed. Possibly a chat and coffee with a sympathetic friend or an afternoon at the beach may be enough. Other times, the guidance and support of a counsellor may be needed. Regardless, reach out for the help needed to support you through these and other stressful times.
There is a great deal of support for stress through diet, nutrition, herbal supplements and lifestyle changes. Come see one of our Naturopaths/Herbalists at Mojo Health to get customised advice for your young adult...or for any parent supporting a teen through the HSC!
The Best 5 Supplements to Improve Memory
Get the exam edge by supplementing your diet with these natural brain power boosting herbs!
Asian (Panax) Ginseng - Research has shown that Ginseng improves cognitive function. Although there are several species of ginseng, Asian Ginseng is a more effective memory aid although Siberian Ginseng is great for energy
Gotu Kola - The super herb for exam time! Gotu Kola has two actions – as an adaptogen which lowers stress plus as a brain booster
Rosemary - Not just for the lamb roast, the essential oil of Rosemary improves speed and accuracy. Burn this oil while studying
Ginkgo Biloba - Ginkgo is one of the oldest tree species alive. Studies have found this herb helps to improve memory as well as being an excellent for blood circulation, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
Brahmi - Brahmi is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and is also known as Bacopa. Brahmi has been studied extensively to show it to improve cognition and memory. It is also a high strength antioxidant.
As some herbs may interact with prescription medication, chat with the friendly team at Mojo Health who are here to help and can recommend the best supplements for you.