Officials from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are providing advice to secondary students who will write their final secondary exams this Monday about overcoming extreme stress and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials from HMC note that all government organizations have taken the necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students, stating that all efforts have been taken to ensure exams are written in a safe environment and that stringent health and safety measures have been put in place.
An official from HMC explained that some stress and anxiety among students is expected, due to the COVID-19 pandemic but notes that students and their parents must make all efforts to ensure they remain calm and focused on their exams.
“The anxiety some students will face during exam time is normal, and it is especially normal during this current situation. Mild anxiety can actually help some students focus, but extreme stress, fear, and discomfort, which can include negative thoughts and physical symptoms, may affect the student’s performance and can be especially detrimental. Difficulties in focus and the ability to store information and not be able to retrieve it can have severe negative consequences,” said Dr. Majid Al Abdulla, Chair of Psychiatry at HMC.
He said the stress some students may experience can be especially pronounced this year due to the current circumstances. He said it isn’t unexpected that many students will be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative news that surrounds the increasing number of positive cases. He says while it is important to accept the circumstances and do everything possible to prevent further spread of the virus, students and their parents should feel comfort in knowing that all steps have been taken to ensure the health and safety of students. He said all efforts have been taken to prevent any unnecessary risk of infection and noted that healthcare teams will be present at examination facilities to ensure strict infection prevention measures are being taken.
He recommends students try to keep a positive mindset, noting that negative self-talk and thoughts can quickly spiral and cause stress and anxiety. He recommends students try to think positively and feel confident in the knowledge that government organizations are working hard to ensure all necessary steps have been taken to protect their health and safety.
He also recommends students try to incorporate relaxation exercises into their day, including deep breathing, meditation, and muscle stretching exercises that can aid relaxation. He says these exercises can help students remain calm and also boost their self-confidence. He also says praying can help students feel more centered and psychologically strong.
Dr. Al Abdullah stressed the importance of the family’s role in creating a tranquil environment for the student at home. He says family members should offer students emotional support and help students who are facing anxiety or fear.
Dr. Ahmad AlAmin, Consultant Psychiatrist at HMC, offered the following tips for students who are writing exams:
- Focus on your studies and avoid paying attention to rumors and bad news about COVID-19, especially from unreliable sources on social media platforms.
- Manage your time effectively by establishing a schedule for studying and take 10-minute breaks while studying to boost your energy and concentration.
- Avoid staying up late and ensure you sleep at least 8 hours a day. Having enough sleep is important for maintaining your health and strengthening your immune system.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and avoid excessive consumption of foods that are rich in fats and sugars. Don’t skip your breakfast as it can help boost your concentration. It is also important to exercise regularly, as physical activity can help stimulate the learning process.
- Avoid overconsumption of stimulants, such as tea and coffee, as they can lead to insomnia and poor concentration during exams.
- Follow all COVID-19 precautionary measures. Avoid greeting your friends with handshakes or kisses and always maintain a distance of at least two meters between you and other people. Wear a face mask at all times and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Make sure you arrive on time for your exam and stay calm during the exam.
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