Bean Sopwith

Bean Sopwith

The rock climber and nutrition coach gives advice on how to prepare for your exams.

  • Get the right amount of sleep

    The best way of dealing with stress is to get a proper amount of sleep. It's not just the amount of sleep, it's also the when and the how. Try to get to bed before 10 o'clock. It doesn't work if you get to bed at one o'clock and have nine hours sleep.

  • Unwind before you go to bed

    It's important to slow down before you get into bed. If you're watching loads of TV and playing computer games late into the night your brain will be too stimulated to sleep. Also, avoid eating any foods before you go to bed, especially sugary foods.

    The quickest way to increase your stress levels is to not get enough sleep. Without proper rest your body can't repair itself. Even if you've had a stressful day beforehand, if you've had enough sleep you'll wake up and feel like you can move on.

  • Maintain a balanced diet

    Eating very sugary foods and drinking lots of coffee is not going to do you any good. It's not going to help your brain cells function when you most need them, at exam time.

  • Take long, deep breaths

    If you're feeling stressed taking in a few deep breaths can change your state. If you see someone's shoulders moving up and down, they're shallow breathing. Oxygen is going into their chest and not into their belly. Expanding your lower belly and getting as much oxygen as possible has the most amazing effect. It's very calming on the system and it balances everything out.

  • Stay positive

    If you're feeling down, put your shoulders back, look up, smile and laugh. I guarantee that if you do that for longer than 30 seconds, you won't feel down any more.

    When people feel down they tend to focus on the thing that's making them feel stressed. You need to say to yourself 'Hold on a second, what am I doing this for? Who am I helping by doing this? Am I helping myself? Am I helping anybody else?' If that doesn't work, think about the things that motivate and inspire you.

    Think about all the things that are going right rather than focusing on the negatives. You'll usually find that there is one theme within the negatives such as needing to improve your time management skills. If you really think about it you probably only need to address one issue rather than ten.

It doesn't matter what game it is, I just try and do my best.

Alix Popham

Wales and Llanelli Scarlets rugby player

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