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Exam Stress Relief for Teens & Students Pt. 2: Deep Breathing

Hey teens! With exam season in full swing, I wanted to take a moment to wish you the very best of luck on your exams. I know this can be a stressful time, so I wanted to offer some Naturopathic advice to help you manage your stress & anxiety levels during this time!

Last week, I shared a tip about soaking up some sunshine for 20 minutes a day while getting your bare feet in the ground, and today I’d like to introduce you to another helpful practice called ‘deep belly breathing’. This simple practice can work wonders in relaxing your body and clearing your mind. It can significantly help to calm and sooth you both before, during & after your exams. It really helps to slow down your racing thoughts and ease those nerves, as well as improving your cognitive function & focus.

Whether you prefer to do this on your own or follow guided breathing exercises, I challenge you to start with just five minutes each morning before heading to school. You can even do it with a friend or family member. Guided breathing is amazing for everyone, whether your at uni, work, or parenting at home. There are some fantastic apps available, like the free app: “Insight Timer”, that offers guided breathing exercises for all kinds of situations and personal preferences. Otherwise here a couple of guided exercises to get you started!

Deep Belly Breathing:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.

  • Close your eyes and place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.

  • Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four, focusing on expanding your abdomen rather than your chest. You should feel the hand on your abdomen rise while the hand on your chest remains relatively still.

  • Hold your breath for a count of two.

  • Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of six, emptying your lungs completely.

  • Repeat this cycle for five to ten minutes, or as long as needed to feel relaxed and centred.

4-7-8 Breathing:

  • Sit up straight with your back supported, or lie down with your hands resting on your lap.

  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four.

  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.

  • Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of eight.

  • Repeat this sequence four times, or until you feel a sense of calm.

Here's an additional tip for you: Rosemary, known for its memory-boosting properties, can be your secret weapon during exams. If you have rosemary at home, grab a small sprig and keep it in your pocket. Give it a sniff just before or during your exams – trust me, it's worth looking a little "weird" if it means better memory retention!! Alternatively, if you have rosemary essential oil, add a dab on your wrist or on a tissue and keep in your pocket to sniff before/during exams can work wonders for improving your memory retention and focus (who doesn’t need more of that!?)

Again, I wish you all the best for your exams! If you have any questions or need further advice, don't hesitate to reach out. I’d love to support you on your journey. And if you're interested in a personal consultation, feel free to book an appointment with us here at Olea Health.

Stay calm, stay focused, breathe, you've totally got this!

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