This is part 2 of a 3 article series on dealing with the stress of an upcoming event. We talk about an exam, but most tips apply to tests, interviews, business meetings.
Go read, if you haven’t already, Part 1 – The evening before
and, once you’re done with this one, continue with Part 3 – Handling the stress during
I guess you had a nice pleasant sleep after all the relaxation from the evening before. Or, yet again, maybe you didn’t. You woke up at 6 AM although your exam, interview or presentation only starts at 10 AM. You might have had nightmares that you went unprepared and woke up sweating in fear.
The morning of the event
Last minute study almost never works
Personal calming ritual: familiar gestures, focus on the senses
Look briefly over your keynotes
Get there half an hour before
Talk to others
Don’t rush to study. It can’t help you much now, can it? Instead, go start your daily calming ritual. Everyone has a calming ritual, a routine, superstition or quirk before the major events. In my case, here they are:
Get energized. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, tea or natural juice. Go out on the balcony and admire the sunrise while slowly eating a french croissant, a french toast or any solid food you can get. The eating/drinking ritual are familiar gestures that if done slowly will eventually calm you.
Any familiar ritual or gesture is helpful against stress, especially if it involves concentrating on the senses, not the thoughts. What do you think about doing some invigorating exercise followed by a Scottish shower (alternate hot with cold water for several seconds each) to get your body moving and cast the sleep away? Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Eat healthily. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day not necessarily because it needs to be a rich one, but because it can’t be skipped. Your brain absolutely needs the energy boost. Your stomach as well. Don’t get shy eating a sandwich or two in the morning – you don’t want to get hungry or even faint from low glucose levels, do you?
If you are really anxious and want to study, don’t overdo it. Just skim briefly over the subjects you are least prepared for. Look over the notes from the previous evening, where you’ve summed up the most important things to remember. Don’t spend more then 10 minutes on it. If you’re not prepared for it, you’ll never be. Just go for it, worries behind, trying to focus on the spot.
Try to get to the target half an hour before schedule. Use the remaining time to relieve stress and get ready for the event. Get your gear out and ready. Test it. Breathe calmly, if you are too tired try to close your eyes and relax. One great stress relief is to introduce yourself to others, talk, chit-chat, socialize. You’ll see others are nervous about the BIG event too – there’s nothing to worry about, you are just as prepared as they are.