10 ways to relieve stress while waiting for your matric results

Lou-anne Daniels

10 ways to relieve stress while waiting for your matric results

The month between your final exam and the day your results are released is always stressful, but there are lots of things you can do to help you cope.

You've written your final paper and now the long wait for the results begins.

At this point you have done everything possible to ensure success; all the late night study sessions, extra classes and missed social events have to be worth the sacrifice, right?

However, there's about a month to get through before you know whether you've made the grade - and those weeks can be even more stressful than the entire year that preceded it.

1. Catch up on lost sleep
While everyone always says pupils should get enough sleep, the reality is that many of us prefer to forgo a few hours in dreamland and spend it revising or cramming that last bit of knowledge into our overburdened brains. So by the time you're done with exams you feel a bit wrung-out.
This is a great time to nap during the day and wake up later in the morning.

2. Exercise
Yes, the kind that requires you to work up a sweat.
Nothing helps ease worry quite like physical exercise. Try and get into a routine where you spend around 30 minutes a day on some sort of physical exercise - even if it's a game of soccer or tennis with your friends who are also waiting for the big day. If none of that appeals to you a swim or a long walk every day is just as effective.

3. Eat well
Your body needs to recover from the stress of the exams and one of the most important ways to help it do so is by eating well. The hot weather often robs us of our appetites and the prospect of a plate of cooked food is really not that appealing when it's boiling hot outside. Opt for salads, cold pasta dishes or other light meals instead.
Snack on fruit and vegetables and avoid sugary drinks if possible.

3. Take up a new hobby
This is a great time to learn a new skill as you have very little distraction.
Look for workshops and classes in your area. Dig out your old T-shirts and revamp them, cut off those scruffy jeans and make some cool new shorts for the summer. Check you community noticeboards for news of upcoming events that may be of interest to you.

4. Talk about your fears
Your best friend is probably also experiencing the same anxiety about the exams and the future. And a burden shared really is a burden halved. If you feel like you need to speak to a professional, please do not hesitate. Childline has qualified counsellors who will help you through the worst of the stress and teach you ways to cope with panic attacks. There are a number of other counselling services for young people, depending on where you live. In this case Google really is your friend.

6. Get a holiday job
Preferably one that will keep you so busy you won't have time to stress. And think about how welcome the extra money will be during the festive season and at the start of your first year of tertiary studies. If you haven't been able to land a job, try hiring out your services to friends and family. You'll be surprised at how grateful people will be in someone is prepared to help run errands or do the odd jobs they can't get around to.

7. Connect with nature
Arrange a hike or two or visit the beach with some friends. The weather is usually perfect for being out and about at this time of year, and there's something soothing about the sound of the surf or birds chirping away. Drop in on your favourite nature spots before the tourist season starts in earnest. Being outdoors is also a great way to tire yourself out so you can sleep well at night.

8. Think about your options
Not everyone is going to pass matric or get admitted to the course they really want to study, so it's advisable to have a Plan B. This is the perfect time to refine the plan and take stock of what you need to do if you're one of the unlucky ones. It also means that you won't feel completely devastated if you haven't been successful. It's important at this point to remember that you can write supplementary exams if necessary, so all is not lost.

9. Get ready for the festive season
Spring clean your room, help your mom put up the Christmas decorations, get your gift shopping out of the way. Get creative and start a Christmas-themed project that can keep you busy for days.

10. Have fun!!
You've done all the hard work now relax and enjoy this time between being at school and entering the adult world. Remember that tertiary studies come with their own stresses, so make sure you pack in as much fun as you can while you have the time.