During matric, mental health is an important aspect of well-being that needs to be nurtured and cared for. Here are five tips for taking care of your mental health as you finish up your school career.
Why is Matric Stressful?
Matric is a watershed time of life. You’re living out the last of your school days, and anticipating a completely new and different life stage. This can bring a rollercoaster of emotions, like positive feelings that range from relief to excitement. However, it also brings with it all the stresses of change. Which include the natural uprising and amplification of fears and anxieties.
Current matriculants are part of a generation born into a time of unprecedented awareness of the world’s ongoing political, social, economic, and environmental upheavals. Therefore, the stress of uncertainty is not new to you. But this time, the uncertainties are not out there and global. They’re completely personal and play out in your day-to-day life. It is likely your matric exam experience is going to demand a different level of resilience from you. And with it necessitate a sharper focus on your mental health care.
The Importance of Matric Mental Health for Exam Performance
Dr Lauren Martin is a Counselling Psychologist and the Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching at SACAP . According to her, mastering your emotional well-being is going to be one of the most crucial things you can do to boost your exam performance.
“The importance of your emotional and mental wellness cannot be overlooked,” she says. “Low motivation, lack of self-confidence, limited support, fear of failure, perfectionism, isolation, mental health deterioration, uncertainties about the future and anxieties about expectations are all emotional and mental factors that could exacerbate the already stressful experience of matric examinations. It’s vital to have strategies to help you manage your emotional well-being as part of your preparations for exam success.”
Accordingly, it’s wise to think ahead and have some strategies to help you take care of your mental health.
5 Mental Health Care Strategies
1. Have a trusted person or people whom you can talk to about your feelings.
Most often just being able to honestly unpack how you’re feeling can help shift you into a better emotional state. Find a friend, parent or other family member, a teacher or counsellor who is empathetic and will be there for you.
2. Be your own best friend.
Practice positive self-talk. We all have an inner voice that either encourages or discourages us. Be aware of your self-talk and don’t say anything to yourself you wouldn’t say out loud to a friend. Consciously change any criticisms you hear in your head into encouraging statements.
3. Practice self-care.
Make a commitment to look after your well-being. This means taking care of your body, mind, and spirit. Get sufficient sleep, make healthy food choices and be physically active every day. Your study schedule must include proper time for maintaining the basics of self-care.
4. Take a break when you need it.
Recognise the signs of when it’s all getting too much for you and take a break to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Yes, you need to study a lot. But you also need to schedule time to relax or take a run; connect with your friends or do something that promotes your well-being.
5. Be proactive about managing your stress.
Prioritise your emotional well-being and have plans and strategies for managing stress. You may need to have some boundaries with people who are highly critical or very demanding of you. Try yoga, mindfulness or meditating, exercising and techniques such as deep breathing and stretching to relieve stress.
What to do after Matric?
For any matriculant who is interested in the field of psychology, counselling, Human Resource or Business Management, Social Work or Community Development, SACAP offers a wide range of qualifications. These include Higher Certificates, Diplomas, and Bachelor’s Degrees. SACAP Global also offers short courses and micro-credentials. Graduating confident skilled practitioners is key. This is why SACAP combines an academically rigorous curriculum with practical modules of work integrated learning. Apply online today or make an appointment with an admissions officer to discuss your career aspirations.
1. Why is matric stressful?
Matric is the culmination of 12 years, or more, of schooling. It is a point of life changes at which many lifelong impacting choices need to be made. Furthermore, performance expectations from teachers, friends, family, and self-imposed often escalate during matric. Expectations combined with matric exam requirements and further education processes can lead to increased levels of anxiety and stress.
2. Why is it important to look after your mental health?
Mental health is particularly important for students because it has a big impact on study ability and exam performance.
3. How do you eliminate exam stress?
One of the most effective ways to reduce exam stress is to make a timetable that creates a study-life balance. In it, you can plan study time to ensure that you are able to cover all necessary material. You should also schedule downtime to relax, see family and friends as well as time to exercise regularly.