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Female Leaving Cert Students Feeling Stressed



Female Leaving Cert Students Feeling Stressed

Studies from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) have found that over a third of girls doing their Leaving Certificate feel stressed and suffer from insomnia during their exams.  The study revealed that 40% of girls were suffering from insomnia, compared to 20% of boys.  The students also found it difficult to spend time playing sports, and felt under pressure to keep up with their school work.  Teachers’ accentuating the importance of doing well in exams is also a contributing factor of stress in students.  Some students place a huge amount of pressure on themselves to do well in exams, particularly if they want to study law or medicine.

ESRI research analyst Dr Joanne Banks said ‘Students themselves placed an enormous amount of weight on the results they get and this was mainly because of life chances and their fears around not achieving the goals they set themselves. ‘The research showed that students who continued to play sports during their exams had lower stress levels than those students who didn’t play sports. The Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy said that about 17,000 students suffer from anxiety during their exams.  Shane Kelly from IACP said ‘Our findings show that there is a real, urgent need for students who are under pressure to talk about their problems, especially during the run up to their exams.’


Tips for students

Timetable – Creating a timetable will help you to stay organised and focused.

Breaks – Taking a break every 20 minutes or so is helpful to keep you from getting tired and stressed.

Daily study routine – follow the same study routine every day. Some people find it distracting to listen to music or the radio when they are studying, whereas others find it helps them to study. Decide what works best for you and stick to it!

Study groups – Being involved in study groups can help you to share information and motivate each other.  Study groups can help you to have fun, which will help you to de-stress!

Talk to teacher or parents- If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed talk to your parents or teachers, they have been through exams before and they may be able to offer you advice and support.

Music and relaxation – Listening to relaxing music and meditating will help you to feel calmer.

Chamomile tea- Drinking chamomile tea about an hour before you go to bed may help you to sleep better.

Rosemary or Lemongrass oil – Burning Lemongrass or Rosemary oil in your room can help your concentration and memory.  Rosemary oil however is not recommended for people suffering from epilepsy as it may cause seizures.

Healthy diet – It is important to consume a healthy diet in order for your brain to get adequate nutrition and energy to function to its optimum levels.

Avocados- This fruit is excellent for the brain.  It contains omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and monounsaturated fat which improve the blood supply to the brain, improving oxygen and essential nutrients. 

Nuts Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts are good forms of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.

Healthy Snacking

Eating a little and often is helpful to maintain energy levels, and to balance sugar levels.

Try and eat three meals and three healthy snacks during the day.  This will help maintain your blood sugar levels while you sleep, warding off insomnia and anxiety.

Combine fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates with healthy fats and proteins.

Water – Drinking about two liters of water daily is important to keep you from getting dehydrated as this will lead to you feeling irritable and tired. 

Avoid excess caffeine – Tea, coffee and colas are mild diuretics. This will increase the need to use the toilet, which is not good during an exam.

Blueberries – The flavonoids which are compounds in blueberries are beneficial for cognitive functioning.

Broccoli – Broccoli contains Vitamin K which is known to enhance brainpower and memory.

Dark chocolate – Studying can cause students to crave sweets but it is best to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate because the flavonols in dark chocolate help to improve cognitive functioning and memory.  It also boosts your mood!

Oats – Oats are full of B vitamins which help the nervous system to work effectively.

Pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin seeds contain the trace element Zinc which is vital for enhancing your memory and cognitive ability. 

Sunflower seeds- Sunflower seeds contain a rich mix of protein, omega fatty acids, and B vitamins.

Oily Fish – Oily fish contains high levels of omega 3 which is vital for brain health. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are particularly high in omega 3.

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