Nutritional Tips for Leaving Cert & Junior Cert Students and Parents

Leaving Cert Stress

As a parent who’s teenager is sitting for leaving cert, I have to admit I am finding it rather stressful. This morning when I said goodbye to her I had tears in my eyes. Although she looked and sounded calm, I am conscious of the turmoil she’s in.

No matter how much I want to take this pressure off my child, I know I can’t. But as a parent, there are a few things I can do to smooth things out for her.

Whether reading this article as a parent or the student,  I would encourage you to use a few if not all of the tips to manage the stress that is upon you.

Usually, it’s impossible to change an event in life like death or divorce but managing the stress defines our path.

Tips for Leaving Cert & Junior Cert Students and Parents

Stay hydrated

”Water is the elixir of life” Atharva Veda. All our organs, including our heart and brain, require water to function properly. Prevent physical stress by staying well hydrated.

All our organs, including our heart and brain, require water to function properly. Avoid physical stress by staying well hydrated.

Fill a water bottle with slices of lemon, cucumber, rosemary sprigs or any other fruit slices. Leave it in the fridge overnight. Flavoured water is much healthier than fizzy drinks which spike the sugar level! Which leads me to my next tip:

Maintain a Balanced Blood Sugar

A stable sugar level will prevent mood swings, lethargy, and sleeping difficulties.

To maintain a balanced blood sugar level;

  1. Start the day with a protein-rich breakfast.
  2. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates
  3. Reduce stimulants
  4. Include snacks in between main meals

Breakfast Recipes

Porridge, Granola, Cinnamon breakfast smoothie, Sugar-free Blueberry and Oat Pancakes,  scrambled eggs with tomato and spinach, Baked Egg and Pepper with a glass of homemade smoothie or vegetable juices are a great and easy option.

Eat small and regular meals throughout the day.  Pack a Nutritious Lunch f. Make some quick protein bars like my no bake almond bar, no bake sesame cookies or this banana and oat bites for the week. These recipes packed with Clever Brain Food.

Encourage Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins that are a natural pain killer and also improves the ability to sleep which in return help reduce stress. Jumping on the steps for 10 minutes, pilates,  squats, or running are some perfect form of exercise to take.  Even if it’s walking to or from school/work, it is a form of exercise rather than nothing.

We can’t eliminate stress, but we can manage it. Exercise reduces stress hormones and stimulates the production of good hormones which together helps foster relaxation.

Breathing Exercises to Relax

The one thing we do when we are stressed out is we stop breathing! When sitting beside an overwhelmed person, you hear them sighing every few minutes. That’s because they usually are holding the breath.

Controlled breathing keeps the mind and body functioning properly. It promotes calm and relaxation and help de-stress.

Here is a simple method to practice daily:

Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. Resource : Dr Weil.com

2 of my favourite apps I use for my daily meditations

Try to have a good night sleep

Months before the Leaving Cert exam starts,  the student would spend most days and nights studying so in my opinion; the studying phase is over, now is the doing phase.  There’s not much studying that can be done now so managing the stress by taking a good night sleep may help to reflect and remember the answers more efficiently.

A cluttered Room is a cluttered Mind

Keep your surrounding tidy.  Take 10 minutes to de-clutter daily, which will help you sleep and think better.  Ask for help if you need.

Essential Oil For Relaxation

  • Lavender Essential oil supports in relaxing the nerves. Use a diffuser or a bowl of warm water with one or two drops of essential oil and bring it to your desk when studying.
  • Make a relaxing foot rub: In a jar, add few tablespoons of coconut oil and around ten drops of lavender, clary sage, rosemary, rose any other relaxing essential oils. Mix and rub on the soles of the feet when in bed.

GOOD BRAIN FOOD

By eating fresh and healthy food, each day you can dramatically improve the mood. It is crucial to ensure that every meal contains elements from each of the key food groups:

  1. Protein: because of its role in balancing blood-sugar levels
  2. Essential Fats: Plays an important part in brain messaging
  3. Whole Grains and Fiber-rich foods: has a high nutrient content and keep the body system cleansed.
  4. Fresh Fruits and vegetables: Provides and abundance of nutrients.

Few of my favourite Brain Food to eat daily:

  1. Walnuts
  2. Almonds
  3. Figs
  4. Wild Fish
  5. Sesame seeds or Tahini
  6. Oats
  7. Dark Leafy Vegetables

Now your turn, If you think this post has some useful tips, share it with those you care for.  I would also love to know how you are managing this period of stress.

12 Comments

  1. June 13, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    These are tips for a very disciplined and mature student. During my exams I was definitely one for last minute exploit … so just coffee and no sleep was my best friend

    • Mira
      Author
      June 13, 2017 / 11:19 pm

      Haha! I should re-think the title then Manuela. I’m glad it turn out alright for you at the end.

  2. June 12, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    These are tips for life, I loved them! I started using an app for meditation as well and it has helped me with my breathing! Good luck to your daughter!
    Lili x

    • Mira
      Author
      June 12, 2017 / 11:11 pm

      You’re absolutely right Lili, meditation makes such a big difference to life. And thank you so much for dropping by. Will see you around!

    • Mira
      Author
      June 10, 2017 / 5:30 am

      Thank you Kelly!

  3. June 10, 2017 / 1:51 am

    Great tips and awesome blog 🙂

    • Mira
      Author
      June 10, 2017 / 5:31 am

      That is so sweet Catarina! Thank you so much for dropping by

  4. June 8, 2017 / 9:05 am

    Great post Mira, I often look back with regret that I didn’t take my exams more seriously but reading this I am also happy that I never let them get on top of me. The very best of luck to your daughter 🙂

    • Mira
      Author
      June 10, 2017 / 5:32 am

      I think most of us would say ‘we didn’t take our exams seriously’ but hey we are doing just fine! Managing it is definitely key

  5. June 8, 2017 / 7:34 am

    Great advice Mira. All these tips are so important during the leaving cert and also during challenging times throughout all our lives.

    • Mira
      Author
      June 10, 2017 / 5:35 am

      Thanks, Anik, you are absolutely right, these tips can be for any season in life!

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