Can you believe we’re almost at the end of yet another year? It feels like it was just yesterday when the new academic year began. 2021 hasn’t been easy, especially for students. Exam season is taxing, no matter how well you excel in certain subjects. One of the most important things we’ve started prioritising, especially mid-pandemic, is our mental health. In awareness of Mental Health Day, Pick n Pay School Club has compiled a list of ways to look after your overall health during exam season.

  1. Create a Plan of Action

Some of you may have already established a study system. For those who haven’t yet or need an extra bit of help then read on. It’s important to prioritise the subjects you’re struggling with. Establish if you study better by yourself or with a group. Talking to your teachers and or parents may also help you create a study plan that will be most beneficial to you. Not everyone learns or takes information in the same so it’s important to figure out how you learn the best.

  1. Ask for help

Your teachers know how difficult exam time is. Most teachers are more than happy to go through something you didn’t understand in the syllabus if you simply ask. Sometimes teachers hold extra lessons either early in the morning or after school. Talk to a few of your other classmates and or friends and create study groups. Listen carefully in class during this time as they’ll likely drop a few hints of what will likely be in the exam.

  1. Go. To. Sleep.

It may seem like a good idea to stay up all night cramming for an exam but, trying to study while your body needs rest will hurt you more than it will help you. It’s important to get sufficient sleep to be able to remember all the information you’re taking in daily. If you feel restless then try meditating or doing some exercise before bedtime.

  1. Stay Active

Whether it’s taking a walk, going to the gym or kicking a ball outside with your younger sibling, try to stay active. Go outside during your breaks for some fresh air. Keeping your body physically active not only helps the blood flow and oxygen, but it can also leave you feeling energised if you’re struggling to concentrate.

  1. Treat Yourself

Did you manage to get above a certain percentage in your practice worksheet or practice exam? Treat yourself to your favourite snack or any other reward. Studying shouldn’t be all doom and gloom. Don’t be scared to celebrate the little milestones you reach while working hard.

  1. Socialise

It’s important to unwind and relax while you’re studying for exams. Spend an afternoon with your friends or family. Being social, especially with people that are going through the same thing as you or are supportive can leave you feeling more confident and less alone.

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

According to the Pick n Pay Dietitian, good nutrition significantly affects our mental health especially during exams and other stressful times. A healthy, well-balanced diet can help boost your energy, provide fuel to your brain, improve concentration and attention span while counteracting the impact stress has on the body. Don’t skip meals, cut back on caffeine, eat healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, boiled eggs, and raw carrots, and eat low GI carbohydrates to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels. Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, like oily fish, nuts and seeds are crucial for the proper function of your brain and nervous system.


Exams shouldn’t be more stressful than they need to be. If you try to keep a level head and use some of these tips, they’ll be a lot easier. For past papers, you can also check out Pick n Pay School Club’s paid resources here.