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FOUNDER ZANE WILSON

For Queries Zane@sadag.org

HELPLINE NUMBERS

24-HOUR TOLL-FREE EMERGENCY HELPLINES

Suicide Crisis Helpline
0800 567 567

Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Helpline
0800 12 13 14
SMS 32312

Cipla Mental Health Helpline
0800 456 789
SMS 31393

NPOwer SA Helpline
0800 515 515
SMS 43010

Healthcare Workers Care Network Helpline
0800 21 21 21
SMS 43001

UFS #Fair Kitchens Chefs Helpline
0800 006 333

8AM-8PM TOLL-FREE HELPLINES

Dr Reddy’s Mental Health Helpline
0800 21 22 23

Adcock Ingram Depression & Anxiety Helpline
0800 70 80 90

ADHD Helpline
0800 55 44 33

Pharma Dynamics Police & Trauma Helpline
0800 20 50 26

8AM-8PM SADAG OFFICE NUMBER

SADAG
011 234 4837

Counselling Queries
zane@sadag.org (Founder)

WHATSAPP NUMBERS

8AM – 5PM

Cipla Mental Health
076 882 2775

Maybelline BraveTogether
087 163 2030

Ke Moja Substance Abuse
087 163 2025

Have Hope Chat Line
087 163 2050

UNIVERSITY LINES

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EMERGENCY Contact Numbers for Students in South Africa - Click here

REQUEST A CALLBACK

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Request a Callback from a Counsellor
Click here

SUPPORT GROUPS

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SADAG has over 160 free Support Groups. To find out more about joining or starting a Support Group click here.

Mental Health Calendar 2024

2023 Mental Health Calendar

To view our Mental Health Calendar
click here

QUESTIONNAIRES

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Do You want to check your Mental Health?

Click here for questionnaires

Studying for tests and exams is a stressful time, we know. Not only do you want to do well, but there’s pressure from your parents/caregivers and even peers to achieve the required results. And with The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) reporting a significant increase in students and learners calling their helpline over exam periods, exam stress is real and needs to be addressed or we could face tragic consequences.

Here are seven practical tips to help you cope with exam stress:

1. Manage your study time effectively

As mentioned in a previous article (https://www.milpark.ac.za/-/successful-studying-seven-simple-steps-to-get-the-most-out-of-revision), as soon as you receive your exam timetable, put a study schedule together. Knowing you have a plan (with enough time to revise everything) will give you a sense of control. Ticking off each day is also a great motivator! Make your schedule realistic and be sure to schedule in personal time too.

2. Learn to practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is the art of being fully present in the moment and the task at hand. It helps the mind focus and reduces anxiety, stress and negative emotions. A few ways of practising mindfulness are meditation and yoga. Here’s a simple guide to get you started.

3. Healthy body, healthy mind

Eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep will go a long way in reducing anxiety and re-energising the mind. Make sure you are eating a balanced and nutritious diet, try to exercise at least half an hour every day and get at least eight hours of sleep a night.

4. Have a stress-free study environment

Your place of study (be it your room at home, the study, or the library) needs to be as facilitative as possible. Keep clutter, background noise and distractions to a minimum. (Stay tuned for a future article on how to achieve the perfect study environment.)

5. Believe in yourself

Often just telling yourself “I CAN do this” is all you need to squash anxious thoughts and emotions. According to counselling psychologist and life coach Kerry Acheson, you should observe what happens with your thoughts, feelings and body when you are anxious and replace these ‘negative’ thoughts with positive ones. “Putting affirmation statements up around the house can help,” Acheson says. She also advises that you remind yourself of challenges you have overcome in the past, and then apply them to your current situation.

6. Figure out what makes you cope better

Some people cope better by tackling the situation head-on, whereas others might cope better by managing the emotional stress of the situation. According to Acheson, this is known as problem-focused coping versus emotion-focused coping. Problem-focused coping is figuring out exactly what is stressing you out and then taking practical steps to removing the stressor, whereas emotion-focused coping is reducing the anxiety associated with the problem. For example:

  • Problem-focused coping: the incessant drilling outside your house is stressing you out, so you go to the library to study. Problem solved.
  • Emotion-focused coping: you’re anxious about the amount of studying you have to do, so you decide to go for a walk to clear your head. But the ‘problem’ will still be there when you get back.

While problem-focused coping resolves the anxiety in its entirety, emotion-focused coping can be counter-productive. The walk to clear your head could leave you refreshed and ready to tackle the next study session, but excessive avoidance of the problem such as watching too much TV is not the answer. Both methods have their merits; you just need to figure out what works for you.

7. Ask for help

There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. If you feel you are not coping and are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to your family, a friend, or the counsellors at your school or place of education. You don’t need to go through this alone.

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