6 Tips on How to Stay Calm Before An Assessment

Hi all

So I have been studying for exams in the last couple of weeks. They are not written exams but it’s more practical exams where we have to do role play and answer some oral questions. Last week it was about diabetes but I needed to redo some of it as I had trouble drawing up the syringe. Usually I would have cried and given myself a hard time but because I have been doing these 6 tips lately it has helped to reframe my thoughts and to keep calm during an assessment.

Meditation

I highly recommend to do meditation. It has changed my life. It has cleared my mind before an exam or assessment and has helped me to concentrate on my breathing, which helps with anxiety. It takes a while to get started though but like all things you just need to keep going at it and practice! Practice makes perfect. What I do for meditation is that as soon as I wake up, I go to the toilet and also turn off the lights as I sleep with the side table light on as I am afraid of the dark believe it or not at my age. I then do meditation in bed using an app called Calm. I really love this app as it has a lot of features, topics, and it’s very calming. They recommend to sit in a comfortable position but I like to lie in bed as it’s more comfortable for me and I can concentrate better but just remember not to fall asleep during meditation.

I love listening to Tamara Levitt as her voice is very soothing and she gives really good tips, especially with the daily meditation. I do daily meditation every morning and with each meditation there is a different topic. Today I learnt about tenderness and about being gentle with yourself. I really loved the quote that she used in this daily meditation, which I will post here for inspiration. You have to pay to use the Calm app but I really think it’s worth it. It takes time and practice to concentrate and to focus on breathing but the more you do it the better you become. Trust me!

Journalling

After meditation, I do journalling. I really love journalling as it helps clears my mind. I sit by my front window in my comfortable chair surrounded by my plants and soaking in the morning sunshine (if there is any in the morning as right now it is winter). I then grab an A5 notebook, a pen and turn on Ambient Relaxation playlist on Spotify. It’s really calming and relaxing for journalling. You can use any notebook but I love getting mine from Typo as they have really cute designs and it’s cheap as sometimes you can get 3 for $10 or something crazy like that. I then start reflecting on meditation, doing affirmations, and visualising my goals in my journal and then I write down what I did for exercise and reading followed by scribing. It’s like I’m keeping a record on what I did.

I do 20 minutes of writing down what’s on my mind and reflecting on what I did yesterday. I also write down what I am going to do that day. I write down about my worries and then talk about how I can improve and then do gratitude towards the end. I even tell myself to have a lovely day and to keep smiling. It just boosts my mood and helps me get things off my chest. It’s great! It clears my mind before an exam or assessment and helps me keep calm as I remember my affirmations and helps me to remember to breathe as it’s in my goals for the day that I write down in my journal. I really love journalling and I highly recommend to do it in the morning.

Yoga

I have been doing yoga religiously every day. Well, except when I have really bad pain from my Endometriosis or my Fibromyalgia then I don’t do any exercise. I give myself permission to take a break and I don’t put any pressure on myself to do it. I do Yoga when I feel like it and that’s okay.

I have been loving Yoga with Bird on Youtube. I highly recommend her for Yoga as she’s very calming and positive. She gives you plenty of options and tells you to embrace all the wiggles and shakes and don’t put pressure on yourself to do all the moves just do what is best for you. Her videos can be rushed towards the end and repetitive but I just choose what video I feel like doing that day and her routines are not very long, which is what I like about them they are about 5 – 15 minutes long with the latest one being 30 minutes but 15 minutes is enough for me. I take out my Yoga mat and do the routines in my living room with my apple TV. I like to close the blinds and turn on the heater whilst doing it during winter to give it the cozy atmosphere. You can use candles if you like to set the mood but I don’t as it gets distracting. I feel stronger and more energised afterwards and her evening routines are very relaxing. In most of her routines, she ends it with meditation so you feel relaxed and good afterwards, which helps with staying calm before an exam or assessment.

Practice

Practicing for an exam or assessment always helps with staying confident and calm as you know what you’re doing or know what you’re going to talk about. I don’t recommend practicing at the last minute like I do as my brain copes better that way but I do recommend to practice a few days or a couple of weeks before just to get confident at it. I have learnt to write down scripts before the practical exam so I know what I am going to say during the role play. As you practice you learn what’s the best way for you to study for your exam and to keep calm.

Breathe and take a break

Meditation helps with practicing breathing and it helps to breathe before or during the assessment. Sometimes I forget to breathe during my role play and I start to get muddled or anxious. When I get anxious, I just stop and tell myself to breathe and stay calm. If you’re waiting with friends before an assessment it helps to take a break from last minute preparation and to socialise with your friends to stay calm and help support each other. Also, always remember to take a break whilst studying! Reward yourself for studying.

Do Affirmation

I have really appreciated affirmation and it has helped me to keep calm before an assessment as I tell myself that I can do it and that I know what I am doing as I am smart. It helps with reframing negative thoughts and turning them into positive ones. I recommend to do affirmations every day and write them down in your journal. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same every day as it will help you to remember them. You can always change it up by adding on to it, which is what I do. You can do affirmations when you start to feel negative energy and it really helps to calm your mind. I always start with ‘I am…’ with each affirmation.

‘I am kind, caring, friendly, gentle and pleasant. I am strong. I am warrior. I am smart in my own way. I am beautiful on the inside on the outside. I deserve to be loved as I am loveable. I am worthy of love. I am good enough.’

You can use my affirmation or you can start writing down your own. Leave your affirmation in the comments if you don’t mind sharing to help support each other during this tough time.

Hope these tips will be useful for you. Good luck with your exam or assessments! YOU CAN DO IT! Keep calm and stay positive.

Love Nat xx

My Endometriosis Journey

Hi all

So my Endometriosis journey is probably the hardest thing to write about on here as it has caused a lot of pain in my life. It all started in 2013 at age 26 when I was lying on the couch in my parent’s living room and all of a sudden i felt this sudden pain where I felt like I was dying and that I couldn’t breathe. My dad was the only one at home and we were going to go to a Chinese New Year banquet at Vietnam restaurant but that obviously didn’t happen. I remember that my dad called my mum and my sister who were not there at the time. My sister is a doctor she would know what to do and she said I should go to hospital so my dad had to carry me down the stairs into the car and and drove me to the ED at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I was then put on morphine as I was in so much pain. I then had some scans done and they said I had an ovarian cyst that had burst. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. Since then I found out I had Stage 4 Endometriosis with reoccurring ovarian cysts and have had three laparoscopic surgeries to remove the Endometriosis. It seems to come back every two years and I am on the pill with a Mirena to stop the bleeding I get from my periods. Apparently, I would have it growing up but I don’t remember getting bad pain when I was in school. I was just getting heavy periods and I would go to the sick bay a lot because I would feel nausea. My sister would think I was faking it as I would get to go home but I think she was just annoyed that she would have to take me home.

If you don’t know what Endometriosis is according to Endometriosis Australia (2020) it occurs in 1 in 10 women and also in 176 million women worldwide so it is very common and I was surprised by how many of my girl friends had it when I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. Endometriosis is present when the tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus (womb) occurs outside of this layer and causes pain/or infertility (Endometriosis Australia 2020). It is a debilitating illness and it sometimes it can be ignored by doctors or misdiagnosed because it can be considered as normal part of having a period. But if you experience pain that stops you from doing things on or around your period then that is not normal and you should go to your GP. I was lucky enough to get diagnosed straightaway due to my chocolate cyst.

Signs and symptoms as cited on Endometriosis Australia (2020) include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain that stops you on or around your period
  • Pain on or around ovulation.
  • Pain during or after sex.
  • Pain with bowel movements.
  • Pain when you urinate.
  • Pain in your pelvic region, lower back or legs.
  • Having trouble holding on when you have a full bladder or having to go frequently.
  • Heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding.

I would get fatigue, nausea, joint pain, pelvic pain, pain during urinating and bowel movements, pain during or after sex but my pain was not as bad as some other people who cannot get out of bed. I am still able to do things but my pain is getting worse now and I think I have Fibromyalgia, which can be a comorbidity of Endometriosis. I am getting pain all the time now that I would take pain medication everyday. I have to have my fourth surgery at the end of the year as my Endo came back but it’s not as bad. The Endo has just moved my cervix and pushed up against my uterus so I am getting a hysteroscopy done to remove the Endometriosis and also botox injection to stop the spasms.

I would have Endometriosis for the rest of my life so this is my chronic condition, which sucks because it’s an invisible illness and it’s hard to say that I am unwell because no one can see it. I get low moods and currently on antidepressants to help with my depression and anxiety that I get from my pain. It makes me stronger though as a person and it makes me feel like I am warrior. Through Endometriosis I have discovered a community that understand what I am going through. I have been to high teas held by Endometriosis Australia, and there was a cabaret at this year’s Fringe called Endo Days that was like an Endo Support Group. It was so much fun. I have also held a sausage sizzle to raise funds for Endometriosis Australia.

I recommend checking out Endometriosis Australia, which has helped me a-lot with resources, education and support. Endometriosis Australia raises awareness about Endometriosis and also raises funds that goes towards research and education. I also recommend Pelvic Pain Australia and Jean Hailes for other resources.

Do any of you have Endometriosis? If so, how long did it take for you to be diagnosed? What signs and symptoms do you have? It would be nice to form an Endo community on here. So welcome Endo Sisters! I am going to update regularly about my Endometriosis so I will keep a diary. Thanks for listening!

Love Nat xx