You know the scenario;  pressure from school, pressure from parents, trying to balance homework, coursework, revision.  It’s the same up and down the country and whilst it may feel like you’re the only one, you can be sure that there are hundreds out there experiencing the same feelings as you, well thousands actually.

So, what can you do?  How do you stay sane?  Where do you start?  The secret is all about balance.  You need to find a healthy balance of all the demands being made of you so that you can cope with what’s got to be done …. and of course, what you’d also like to do in your last year at school.  Keep things in perspective.

A little stress is actually good for you.  Why is that?  Well, we need a small amount of stress to drive us forward; to give us the push, the motivation we need to tackle the challenges that being in year 11 brings!  Yes, your GCSEs are important, both as a benchmark to reflect your knowledge as well as take you to your next step; sixth form, college or perhaps an apprenticeship.

So, who will you turn to for guidance and support? Who are your support group? Whatever your circumstances, you’ve probably got many different people you can call on to support you through this difficult time. You don’t have to go it alone.  Your family of course, your friends, your school, perhaps your doctor.  Don’t struggle, talk to someone if you need to.  Your school will have a pastoral team who are there to help you.  Your friends will also be going through the same thing so don’t feel isolated; use the network open to you, a problem shared and all that ….  Use your social support; this will give you emotional benefits and in turn, the confidence and autonomy to handle the situation better.

Do you like organising things?  Are you a fan of little ways to keep everything neat and tidy?  Now’s your opportunity to show your strengths!  Put together ways to logically structure your life in year 11.  Find practical ways to keep your ‘environment’ tidy; by this I mean make sure your school bag is ordered and contains everything you need for each day, write a homework timetable to make sure your coursework and assignments are completed and submitted on the right day, sort yourself a space at home to work etc.  All these methods will help you with the journey – a tidy ‘desk’ is a tidy mind!

So, what about all that planning and revising you know you’ll need to do?  Again, structure it!  Create a precise timetable, use revision tools that work for you – some love cue cards, some mind maps, some bullet point notes.  Whatever your particular preference is, use it to organise your revision so it’s broken down into manageable chunks, make sure you have the right equipment you’ll need and importantly, make sure you take regular breaks away from revision.  You’ll be much more productive if you do this!

A word of warning …. limit your screen use.  These days using a screen of some sort is a major part of our lives.  You’ll have your phone of course, but you may also use a tablet or laptop to study with and of course will enjoy settling in front of any of these – plus the TV.  It’s important to ensure you don’t end up spending all day on one form of screen or another.  Take breaks, go for a walk ….

Which leads me nicely onto what you could do to recharge.  Recharging is vital to maintain a health mind and body.  What do you enjoy?  Maybe go out for a cycle, a long, luxurious bath, a catch up chat with friends.  Structure your down time to make sure you eat healthily, take exercise, sleep properly and practice mindfulness too – believing in yourself is all part of this journey.

And as you prepare for leaving school and taking the next steps, set yourself some personal goals to aim for.  What will you study at college?  Are you thinking of going to university?  What will you choose as a career?  Do some research, talk to your social support allies to set future goals.   This will give you something to aim for and will be a focus after the exams are finished.  Maybe you plan to travel?  Or do you have a special event to look forward to?  Book yourself some fun time!

Remember, you can do this.  Yes, it’s important, but so are many other aspects of our lives.  Keep things in perspective.  After all, balance is key.