So then, for some of us it’s ‘quiz time’, as a friend so jollily put it. I’m in my final year of school, completing my A-levels in a few weeks (help!). There are a lot of young people burying heads in books and stressing about it all at the minute. I definitely understand that it’s not a lot of fun when it gets down to business, it’s very difficult to maintain that positive mind-set that is so very important. But I’m sure that you, who are reading this are a nature enthusiast and so you have a very powerful tool to combat this all!

There is a lot of very interesting research that shows immersing yourself in nature can be an incredibly powerful stress reliever. The journal Landscape and Urban Planning did a study into the hormone cortisol which causes stress. They found that people who spent more time in green areas had lower levels of this. You’re health and self-esteem is also boosted which is very handy with the pressure that this time of year brings. Other studies have reported that 95% of the people studied changed from feeling depressed, stressed and anxious to more calm when outdoors in open areas.

The message I’d like to get across from this blog is to make sure you enjoy nature and go outside as much as you would when you aren’t revising. It’ll do more good than another 15 minutes of reading words that won’t go in anymore. I’m awful for not doing it, but revision should be in around 45 minute chunks and then have a 10-15 minute break to let your brain process the information. Those breaks are the perfect time to do something nature related. Something I’d personally recommend is a dawn chorus CD. I brought one earlier this year and it’s a lifesaver. When you feel all the stress and frustration rising and your heart starts pounding, switch on the birdsong and you’ll be back to normal. If not that, I wrote this watching the Osprey chicks hatch at Rutland Water on a webcam. I was feeling relaxed and calm and still getting things done!

I really wish you all the best of luck. If you don’t meet those predicted targets it honestly isn’t the end of the world at all, everything happens for a reason and this is just the start of your life. Lastly, as a quick disclaimer, to those who haven’t started all of this, please don’t worry. One of the worst things people will say is “it’ll just get worse” when you’re feeling under pressure in the lower years. It gets more challenging because you start to learn lots of new things, that’s true. But I’ve had some of the best times and have the best memories in the years of exams. There’s an odd but amazing sense of comradery when you’re all in something like that together. Don’t panic and don’t forget to connect with nature now and again… it’ll all be over soon.