Whilst we welcome the return of the sunshine and warmer weather, this time of year signals the start of exam season, which can be an extremely stressful time and impact the whole family. It’s often hard to know as a parent how best to support your child through this, as not only do they heap the pressure on themselves, they can pick up on our subconscious anxiety too. As a holistic therapist and a mother, I have put together some ways of keeping a calm household during exams.
Flower essences are liquid solutions containing the energetic imprint of a flower or plant. We too have our own energetic imprint, with energy or chi flowing in and out of us freely. However, this flow of energy can become disrupted by shock, trauma or stress, causing it become trapped somewhere within the body. When we feel an emotion, what we are actually experiencing is the vibration of a particular energy. As each flower or plant carries a positive energetic signature, you select those that resonate with with your emotional state to help restore the flow and balance.
Essences can be taken internally or topically, you can put a few drops of stock essence in a glass of water and sip, you can add to the bath, rub some on pulse points or make up a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can buy ready made combinations for study and exams or consult a practitioner like myself.
Here are a few suggestions of the most readily available that can be purchased in health food stores and chemists. They are from the Bach essence range, I use the Healing Herbs or Crystal Essence versions of Bach.
Rescue remedy/five flowers – This one has to be the first port of call, a combination of 5 flowers that is well worth having for any shock, trauma or upset not just for exams. It is very useful for calming butterflies or feelings of complete panic leading up to an exam. It will help clear your head, so that you are able to think straight.
Elm – Helps you cope with the overwhelm of your workload and the feeling that you can’t cope or won’t be able to perform well enough
Larch – Is really good for restoring your inner confidence, especially when you keep measuring yourself against others. Works well with Elm by re-inforcing the knowing that you have taken in enough knowledge.
Chestnut bud – To help memory recall
White Chestnut – For those niggling, worrying thoughts that are being played over and over in your head like a broken record, especially if it is affecting your sleep.
Olive – The amount of concentration and effort involved in revision and exams can be mentally draining, especially when you have to carry on studying in-between exams. Olive is the remedy for exhaustion, when you get to the point where you feel as if you can’t go on. It will restore your energy reserves, giving you the strength to carry on.
Some essential oils have ‘cephalic’ properties which means they can stimulate the parts of the brain responsible for memory and concentration. Rosemary is the strongest cephalic oil, and as a simple solution you could put a few drops on a tissue and sniff every now and then. Adding a few drops to a diffuser is a very safe and practical way of inhaling the oils as there is no flame involved and it turns itself off when the water runs out. Peppermint, Basil and Lemon are also good for memory.
For exam nerves and stress relief you could choose from Lavender, Rose, Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, Bergamot and Vetiver.
If you want to use essential oils topically, in a rollerball for pulse points or in a spray it’s best to buy them pre-blended, consult an aromatherapist. I can also advise on this or make up spray bottles using essential oils and flower essences.
It’s very tempting to let normal eating slip at this time, but with all that extra brain power required it’s essential to feed yourself properly. Try to include Omega-3 fatty acids to boost memory and enhance learning, as well as oily fish this can be found in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia and flaxseeds. Avacado’s and dark chocolate increase blood supply to the brain (chocolate also increases endorphin production, improving focus and concentration).
For optimum brain function, it’s essential to keep hydrated as the brain is made up mostly of water.
And finally, try to build in a bit of relaxation! Something as simple as taking a break every now and then, with a bit of movement to get things flowing, a few deep breaths to increase the oxygen to your brain and help you relax.
The very best of luck and best wishes to all of you taking exams