2 August 2023

You’ve worked hard, put everything you have into your exams, and now it’s time to sit back, take a deep breath, and wait for the results. Easier said than done, we know. But especially as these next few weeks will likely be a rollercoaster of emotions, it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental and physical well-being. We all have unique needs, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another, so you might choose to spend this time getting to know what you need – it’s an important part of self-development. So, let’s talk about the various ways you can look after your well-being while waiting for those all-important GCSE results.

Get outside

It’s not just an old wives’ tale your mum tells you on a sunny day – nature is good for the soul. Spending time outdoors can help alleviate stress, clear your mind, and boost your mood. 95% of people say their mood improves after spending time outside, changing from stressed or depressed, to calmer and more balanced. So, over the next few weeks, consider taking a stroll in the park, going for a hike, or making a beach-side picnic. Whatever way you choose to get outside, connecting with nature allows you to take a step back from the anxiety of waiting for results and can provide some much-needed mental escape.

Focus on movement

Engaging in regular physical activity is not only beneficial for your physical health but also for your mental well-being. Whether it’s hitting the gym, going for a run, or trying out a new sport like paddle boarding, exercise releases endorphins that promote feelings of happiness and reduce stress. Research shows that three to five 45-minute exercise sessions a week deliver the best mental health benefits. So why not find an activity that you enjoy and get started? 

Get creative

Embracing your creativity is a great way to express yourself and channel your emotions positively.  Creativity not only acts as a stress reliever (reducing symptoms of anxiety too) but also boosts your confidence and provides a sense of accomplishment. If you’re looking for some inspiration, you might want to think about activities such as painting, writing, playing a musical instrument, or even trying out some DIY around the house (with parental permission, of course!). 

Keep up with your friends

Your friends are likely going through the same mixed emotions and can be a great source of support over the summer break. Talk to them about how you’re feeling, share your worries, and make sure you listen to theirs as well. Remember, you’re all in this together, and supporting each other can make the waiting experience more bearable. Try to make time for face-to-face communication – it’s hard to feel the same level of togetherness through your phone – and you might want to use this as an opportunity to get outside too. 

Set new goals

You’ve just completed one goal in sitting your exams and after the initial relief, you may now feel like you’re in limbo before you take your next step – whether that’s Sixth Form, an apprenticeship, employment, or something else entirely. Setting yourself an achievable goal and tracking your progress over the summer can give you a renewed sense of purpose and direction. Whether it’s challenging yourself to learn a new skill, reading books that have just been sat on your shelf waiting to be read, or even picking up a new language on Duolingo, setting yourself these targets and reaching them will give you a sense of accomplishment and improve your self-esteem.

Check-in with yourself

How are you feeling, really? When you’re feeling stressed, your body releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which can cause physical symptoms of anxiety including increased heart rate, sweating, headaches and more. But it can be hard to manage these symptoms properly unless you tap into how you’re feeling and process these emotions. You might want to consider taking up mindfulness, a powerful tool to centre your thoughts, reduce anxiety, and improve self-awareness. You can do this by spending a few minutes a day focusing on your breathing and clearing your mind, and apps like Calm or Headspace can be a great resource for this. Or you might even want to consider journaling, writing down your thoughts and feelings so you can better understand them. And remember, if you need some additional support, talk to someone – whether that’s a family member, a friend, the school, or a relevant charity.

This GCSE waiting game can be both challenging and exciting. But the key to looking after your well-being during this time is to be kind to yourself and find out what works best for you when coping with life’s stresses. Don’t compare your experience to anyone else’s because we are all unique, and we all cope with challenges in different ways. So, whether you get outside, move your body, nurture your creativity, connect with friends, work towards goals, or check in with yourself through mindfulness or journaling, these are all tools that can help you develop resilience and a positive mindset that will serve you well in the future. But for now, we’re wishing you all the very best for your GCSE results – you’ve got this!