If, like me, you have a teenager about to take their exams and is experiencing stress at this important time. I wondered how best to help, alongside my work as a massage therapist. I asked a local coach and Psychotherapist for some help to get my daughter through this time.
Shaun Hotchkiss is a coach and psychotherapist who has spent many years supporting young people, students and various professionals in working through exams, professional development and challenging projects.
I’ve added a couple of notes as well to use to help with wellbeing.
Here are his 6 top tips for being at your best during these times:
- The environment – First of all look at the basics, is it too hot or too cold, light enough, has access to toilets and drinks and anything else your body needs to be at its’s best. Desk, comfy chairs, facilities etc.
Ensure you have the correct support for you body and that you have good posture. This will allow the body to not be under stress. See the attached pictures to help set up your workspace, and make sure you have a work and home space clearly identified.
What you need to think about is:
- How could you get them sitting in a supported position at a table/desk? (Get them away from sitting on a sofa/floor when using the equipment etc)
- Can you use pillows to support their back / elevate them in the chair (if it’s needed).
- Breaks, more frequent breaks as they won’t have external devices. They can still stand up and stretch out.
- How can you make breaks fun, that breaks away from the slumped seated posture? Something that they would like to do/want to do? Competition time for example for star jumps? How can you get them to move more outside? Could they do a bike/running challenge (obviously with parents being involved).
- Your behaviours – Can you do what you want to do, in the environment you have created? Is your behaviour, the things you are doing, going to get you the results you want?
Don’t forget the importance of a break. We only absorb information in a small window. Study for 20-25 mins then take a break and move. It has been shown that we take in information when we move after studying.
- Your skills – Are there any additional skills you need to add in now, to affect your behaviour in the environment you have created. Depending on where you are in your timeline, it may be too late to learn a new computer program. There is always time to learn how to breath and calm your mind to enhance your performance.
I’ve added a link to a mindfulness site to help calm the mind for you.
- Beliefs and values – Spend some time checking in, what you believe about the projects you are engage with. If the believes are positive, this will support your motivation. If negative it might be worth tuning your thoughts.
- Purpose – What’s the overriding bigger purpose of this project, and how does that fit in with what is good for you, your family, work, community. Connecting to our higher purpose, is hugely motivating to our behaviours as discussed above.
- Connection – When all of the above are aligned and working together harmoniously this makes possible, deeper connection with yourself, others and the communities and systems we live in. And where our higher rewards for undertaking the project are revealed.
If you are struggling with exams, professional development, or a challenging project, and you can see a gap in any of the above and would like to explore it further. Contact Dawn at email@example.com . Or contact Neil Demuth, to understand how massage therapy and workstation assessments can help with mental and physical stress at firstname.lastname@example.org
The pictures below identify the correct positions for both laptop, picture 1, desktop PC, picture 3, and how your work zones should be with your workstation. The link is for some mindfulness help.