You reach a milestone that both scares and excites you. You imagine what you want your life to look like in the future. Then you think about the obstacles you have to overcome to get there: HSC/ IB examinations, University applications, assessments. You start to panic. “What if I don’t make the ATAR cut off for my course?” The panic rises. Your parents ask if you are prepared for your upcoming assessments, the pressure increases. Before long it is too much for you to take.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Do not worry, you are not alone! Research shows that three out of four students experience ATAR anxiety! You have big dreams, your parents want you to achieve your potential and your school has high expectations. This can create a lot of pressure on you and your mental health.
Here are 10 quick things you can do right now to help you cope with your ATAR anxiety:
- Take a breath – It sounds so simple but closing your eyes, taking a deep inhale of breath, then counting to three before releasing it slows your heart rate and tricks your brain into thinking that the stress or danger has passed. This helps you think more clearly as well.
- Replace negative thoughts – our brains have a bad habit of jumping to worst-case scenarios and negative self-talk. This is not at all helpful and it makes us feel awful. Practice telling yourself that you are doing your best and that you are amazing despite what a test score may try to tell you.
- Aromatherapy – lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood are particularly calming scents. Lighting a candle or incense in these scents can help to calm your nervous system and make you feel better.
- Exercise – go for a run or a swim and take your mind off the trigger. Exercise is known to release endorphins and make you happier.
- Journaling – sometimes the best way to move beyond an anxious feeling is to work through it. Accept and acknowledge how you are feeling by writing it down. This also acts as a great cathartic release. Drawing or colouring is also helpful if you are more artistic.
- Meditation – this takes practice but there are some great apps that you can use to guide you through a meditation to help you slow your heart rate and think more positively. Over time meditation can help you dismiss anxious thoughts as they arise.
- Sleep – this sounds so simple but good restful sleep can truly do wonders for your mental health. It also improves memory and productivity.
- Celebrating small victories – this is a challenging time in your life and it is easy to get lost in the vastness of it all and forget to celebrate small victories. Reward yourself with a chocolate or a night out every now and then to recharge you for the next round of challenges.
- Contextualising your problems – this is similar to replacing negative thoughts but just remind yourself that this is not the end of the world. If you don’t get the results you hoped for, there is always another solution. It all feels so huge and it is, but it is not the end of the world.
- Speak to a trusted adult – if all of these don’t help, speak to your parents, teachers, or speak to us at TutorTime. Ask for help when you need it.
Need to find a tutor? You can book a tutor if your child needs some one on one support. We have face to face online tutoring mapped to the Australian curriculum. We also have group tutoring classes too! Call us today on 1300 788 867 to find out more.