The Civil Services Exam, popularly known as the IAS exam has found a place among the toughest entrance exams in India. As any IAS aspirant would you tell you; taking on one of the toughest exams not only in India but across the world, has to have its own set of challenges.
STRESS is one such challenge that needs to be tackled by students preparing for IAS exams on a daily basis. In addition to the cut-throat competition, the extensive and vast syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Exam literally requires you to know everything under the sun be it for subjects or general studies topics. All of these factors add to the stress levels of IAS aspirants often making them vulnerable to problems like anxiety, depression and constant headaches.
However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel; especially so for IAS aspirants who are planning to be the guiding light for this country’s administration. The stress of IAS preparation can be managed and avoided by including some simple but effective steps in your daily routine. If you have also been grappling with this problem, read on to find out an effective action plan to beat ‘Stress’ during IAS exam preparations.
HOW TO RECOGNISE THAT YOU’RE STRESSED DURING IAS EXAM COACHING OR PREPARATION?
What are the Physical Symptoms of the stress?
- Muscle aches
- Trouble sleeping
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Flushed skin
- Clenched teeth
- Unusual changes in weight
What are the Emotional Symptoms of the stress during UPSC Preparation?
- Less than normal patients
- Feelings of sadness and/or depression
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
- Reduced or absence of desire for activities which you once enjoyed or regularly performed
- Sense of isolation
- Trouble coping with life’s issues
- The more frequent or extreme pessimistic attitude
- Overreaction to situations, whether personal or professional.
What are the Cognitive Symptoms of stress?
- Impaired concentration
- The trouble with remembering things, such as homework assignments or deadlines
- Chronic worrying
- Anxious thoughts or feelings
- Reduced or impaired judgment
- Impaired speech (mumbling or stuttering)
- Repetitive or unwanted thoughts
What are the Behavioral Symptoms of stress during Civil Services Preparation?
- Change in eating habits
- Change in sleeping habits
- New or increased use of drugs, tobacco or drugs
- Nail biting
- Abnormal failure or delay to complete everyday responsibilities
- A significant change in performance
- The unusual desire for social isolation
- Frequent lying
- Trouble getting along with peers, such as co-workers, classmates or teachers
1. Be Physically Active
Preparing for IAS exams can be a cumbersome task with strict timelines and study schedule extending into hours. However, while planning your Daily IAS timetable most of the candidates forget to include time for some physical activity. Being physically active not only stimulates the body, but also the mind, helping IAS aspirants to study faster and better.
Although, be wary of tiring yourself out so much that you feeling fatigued during study hours. Indulge into light exercises or a brisk walk/jog early in the morning for a few minutes, followed by Yoga and meditation. Physical exercise will keep you active and stimulated through the day, increasing your alertness and brain potential. Meditation will help you relax and get ready for the tough schedule ahead while Yoga has been universally known to help people de-stress and fight anxiety as well as depression.
2. Balanced Diet
As the old proverb goes ‘you are what you eat’; this holds even more true for IAS aspirants as they have to deal with the several challenges at the same time. A balanced diet goes a long way in helping you cope with the pressure of IAS preparation while keeping you healthy and physically fit. Being healthy and free from any illness will keep the additional stress away while helping you deal with your tough timelines.
3. Avoid Stimulants
One of the first things that IAS aspirants pick up in order de-stress are the numerous external stimulants. They can be something as simple as frequent tea/coffee breaks or more serious ones like a cigarette after every 2 hours. Although many aspiring IAS candidates vouch for the effectiveness of such items, the fact is it indulging into them leads to wastage of time and health complications.
Many studies have found that excessive use of tea/coffee often leads to dehydration and stomach related health problems. For the harmful effect of cigarettes or alcohol or any other similar substance, a simple Google search will give you your answers.
4. Take out Time for Entertainment
All work and no play don’t get any work done! Focusing only on your study schedule and USPC exam syllabus will not work in your favour. Continuous pounding of facts, figures, concepts and data will only wear your brain further down. To avoid doing do, try to take some time out for entertainment activities that you enjoy. It can be something as simple as listening to your favourite songs, gazals or taking a stroll with a friend at a nearby park.
The important thing here is to keep your mind away from books and your study goals. This will not only help your brain cool down but when you begin studying again you will be able to do so with a fresh zeal and approach.
5. Develop / Keep a Hobby
The world of IAS exam prep is a vast one and most of the aspirants often lose their personality and lifestyle into it. While, it is important to devote yourself fully into your IAS study, but it is also equally important to maintain a personal life and keeping a hobby will help you do so. Maintaining a hobby will not only ease your stress but also give you break from your strenuous study schedule and indulge in something you like.
You can opt for something very simple as regularly listening to informative podcasts or radio, writing a Blog to document your day, painting or even cooking. Try to use your hobby to reward yourself for completing your daily goals; it will inspire you to do so repeatedly.
6. Rest & Sleep well
This is pretty much self-explanatory! At the end of the day, your mind and body are vulnerable and prone to wear and tear; both physical and mental. Following a strict regime for IAS studies can take its toll on your body and, therefore, it is important to devote some time to help the body cope with this challenge. Try to take small breaks to help you relax and rest through the day. Also, ensure that you get minimum 8 hours of sleep, which is necessary for any adult individual.
7. Be Positive and Confident
None of the aforementioned points will help you beat stress if you are not positive and confident about that path you have charted out for IAS preparation. The most important thing for an IAS aspirant to do is to believe in their preparation plan and follow it rigorously. Being positive and believing in yourself will not only build your confidence but also help in the preparation process by clearing out any other irrelevant thoughts from your mind.
An IAS aspirant faces many issues apart from vigorous study schedule during the course of the preparation of this exam like living alone, managing expenses, keeping up at coaching institutes and health concerns. It’s important to comprehend that “Work while you can but avoid overwork which act as depletion of your energy”.
Candidates need to come out of the fear that surrounds this exam and just concentrate to give the best shot at their capacity. In a nutshell, de-stressing is a process of inhabiting positive attitude and building potent will power.