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Combating Post-Exam Anxiety and Navigating Waiting for Leaving Cert Results

Combating Post-Exam Anxiety and Navigating Waiting for Leaving Cert Results

Team Missy

As the final bell rings and the last exam paper is handed in, a wave of relief often washes over students. However, this relief can quickly give way to a new form of anxiety: the waiting game for Leaving Cert results.

This period can be fraught with uncertainty and stress, making it crucial to prioritise mental health.

Here are some effective strategies to help you manage post-exam anxiety and maintain your well-being during this waiting period.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

It’s normal to feel a mix of emotions after exams. You might feel relief, but also worry and doubt about how you performed. Recognize that these feelings are valid. Bottling up your emotions can lead to increased anxiety, so take the time to process what you’re experiencing.

2. Stay Connected

Isolation can amplify anxiety. Stay connected with friends and family, who can offer support and distraction. Sharing your thoughts and fears with someone who understands can be incredibly comforting. Social activities can also provide a much-needed break from constant worrying.

3. Engage in Relaxation Techniques

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can significantly reduce anxiety. Apps like Headspace or Calm offer guided meditations specifically designed to manage stress and anxiety.

4. Maintain a Routine

After weeks of intense study schedules, it might be tempting to fall into a pattern of inactivity. However, maintaining a regular routine can provide a sense of normalcy and purpose. Include time for hobbies, exercise, and relaxation. Physical activity, in particular, is a great way to boost your mood and alleviate stress.

5. Limit Result Discussions

While it’s important to talk about your feelings, constantly discussing exam results can heighten anxiety. Set boundaries with friends and family regarding how much you want to talk about your exams and the upcoming results. Focus conversations on other topics that bring you joy and positivity.

6. Set Realistic Expectations

It’s natural to hope for the best results, but it’s also important to manage your expectations. Understand that one set of exams doesn’t define your entire future. Many successful people didn’t excel academically in their youth. Your worth is not determined by your exam scores.

7. Plan for All Outcomes

Having a plan for various outcomes can reduce anxiety about the unknown. Consider what steps you will take if your results are different from what you expected. Explore alternative pathways and options that can lead to your desired career or academic goals. Knowing that you have a plan B (and C) can make the waiting period less daunting.

8. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you find that your anxiety is overwhelming and interfering with your daily life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Counselors, therapists, and mental health professionals can provide strategies and support to help you manage your anxiety effectively.

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9. Focus on Self-Care

Use this waiting period as a time to recharge. Engage in activities that make you happy and relaxed. Whether it’s reading, painting, gardening, or binge-watching your favorite series, taking time for yourself is crucial.

10. Celebrate Your Efforts

Regardless of the outcome, recognize and celebrate the hard work you’ve put into your studies. Completing the Leaving Cert is an achievement in itself. Treat yourself to something special, whether it’s a small treat or a day out with friends.

The waiting period after the Leaving Cert exams can be challenging, but by focusing on your mental health and well-being, you can navigate this time with greater ease. Remember, your exam results do not define you. Prioritise self-care, seek support when needed, and stay optimistic about the future.

You’ve worked hard, and now it’s time to take care of yourself.

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