Health and well-being column with Jessica Ammendolia

YEAR 12 students across Griffith are gearing up for their all-important Higher School Certificate exams. 

Here are some ways to ensure students are getting the best out of their preparations when it comes to their health and well-being. 

Carbohydrates

The last thing you want is to crash halfway through an exam. Choosing low GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrates help to stabilise blood sugars, to prevent a mid exam energy slump.

Include food like sweet potato, wholegrain breads and cereals, dairy, fruits and vegetable at each meal.

Snacking

Snacking is common when studying and is often associated with emotional eating or boredom.

So make sure you have healthy options available for when those cravings hit.

Choose sliced fruit with nut spreads, roasted chickpeas or vegetables sliced up with hummus to give you a good boost of nutrients and prevent blood sugar spikes.

The benefits of yoga are endless

Your working memory is improved after just one session of yoga, but benefits are greater with continual practice.

I personally get a little edgy before an exam and find laying on my back with my leg up the wall (also known as Viparita Karani pose) for 15 minutes can help me become more grounded and focused.

Avoid those all nighters

A recent study has shown that nothing replaces a good night sleep, not even energy drinks or coffee.

A lack of sleep impairs your memory, alertness, rule- based reasoning and ability to work though complex problems. 

So try and get at least 6-8 hours sleep before your exams.

Something fishy?

Healthy fats aren’t just important for improving mental performance but are also vital for keeping your mental health in check.

Include foods high in Omega 3’s such salmon, tuna, prawns and calamari in your diet.

Do things you enjoy

Study can be stressful, so take the time to look after your self.

This could be going for a walk with your dog, a short catch up with friends and family or taking time for a hobby you enjoy.

It’s important to remember that you cant be productive 100% of the time.

Essential oils

I always have a candle burning or a diffuser running when I study at home.

Peppermint can be used to support memory, focus and concentration.

It’s also great for tension headaches.

Where as, rosemary helps users to feel “fresher” and improves memory recall and processing. 

Breakfast the most important meal of the day

It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be as simple as eggs on toast or a bowl of porridge, just eat something.

If you can’t stomach solid foods before an exam, try a high protein smoothie.

I like frozen banana, almond milk, and a teaspoon of peanut butter.

Caffeine

I’ve mentioned it before; don’t overdo the caffeine. Caffeine increases your stress hormone, cortisol.

The last thing you need when you’re already stressed is to make it worse. 

Aim for no more than 300mg per day. 

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