Written by Michele Frew, Certified HeartMath Coach

The first term is over, and you are well into this academic year and the second term brings with it projects or assignments.  Tests and the exams are also looming in the near future.  This can lead to feelings of overwhelm, due to the pressures you face.  Having tools to deal with these feelings can help us overcome our feelings and get through the term, and do our best.

We may think that changing our feelings doesn’t change the situation, or the amount of pressure we are feeling, due to deadlines and projects / assignments (never mind the exams we haven’t started studying for yet) …. But when are able to acknowledge and name what we are feeling; then breathe deeply and find a good rhythm for our deep breaths, we can then breathe in a positive feeling and breathe out the stressful feeling. Once feeling calmer we can then take effective and efficient action steps that get us closer to our goals (whatever they may be).

To learn more about the HeartMath® techniques that will help you feel calmer and shift your feelings to effectively deal with overwhelm or pressure – get in touch with Sam (Cape Town) or Michele (Johannesburg). During coaching sessions you will also be able to see (in real time) how the breathing techniques and feeling calm looks like in your physiology (Heart Rate Variability), while connected to the emWave technology .
We can also teach you more about getting over the procrastination and getting started! 

Deal with worries or anxieties by asking some useful questions:
  1. Why I am feeling overwhelmed/worried/anxious?  Perhaps write your answers down.
  2. What do I need to do about it?
  3. If I first change the feeling – [if I am at EASE] what is the next step I can take?

– Do I need to ask for help?
– Do I need extra lessons?
– Do I need to use or manage my time better?
– Do I need to have a plan to get through Term 2 or to get through each project or assignment?
– Do I need to stop procrastinating when it is time to work?
– Do I need to have less distracting me while I am working?
– Am I eating foods that provide me with energy?
– Am I drinking water – to help my body and brain to function?
– Am I getting enough restful sleep?

Stop Procrastinating

A useful technique to stop procrastination is to make up a table / list of all you need to get done. Then identify how long you think it will take to complete each task and then prioritise (or list the items from 1 to …..) so that you know what you need to do, how long it will take and what you will do first.

Step 1: Make list of all your tasks
Step 2: Identify how long each task will take
Step 3: Prioritise each task

If you are more into technology (and you are not sure where your diary is or when last you wrote something in it) then you may want to use an App, like: Timetable (available in Google Play Store) to manage your tasks and time.

Beat Exam Stress – Task Priority Sheet template

Time Management

A tool for better time management is Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique.® 2 The basic idea is that you work totally focused (no distractions or breaks) for 25 minutes at a time, then take a 5 minute break and do this 4 times [2 hours in total] and then take a longer break of 15 or 20 minutes before starting the cycle again.

There are also several Apps available that help you use the Pomodoro Technique® online.  See: https://zapier.com>best-pomodoro-apps

Breathe in E-A-S-E

Managing our feelings, being more organised and managing our time can go a long way to easing the pressure we feel when faced with tasks, projects or assignments and exams.  The first important step is to manage our feelings!  If we try to work when we feel worried, anxious or overwhelmed, we cloud our brain’s ability to focus and get through the tasks.  Sometimes we also just need to sit down and get started after we have breathed in E-A-S-E and breathed out overwhelm, worry or procrastination.

For Coaching or Training to help beat exam stress once and for all, contact:

Cape Town

Samantha Kitshoff

071 421 323



Michele Frew

082 676 5696


  1. Picture source: https://th.aliexpress.com/price/love-hourglass_price.html
  2. YouTube: the Pomodoro Technique at https://youtu.be/CT70iCaG0Gs.  Also see www.pomodorotechnique.com  or https://cirillocompany.de/pages/pomodoro-technique
  1. Childre, D & Rozman, D with Carr, S. 2011. Stopping Emotional Eating: the emWave®  Stress and Weight Management Program. California: HeartMath® . p. 36.
  2. Bennett, S. 2014. Get It Done: from Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day. California: New World Library, p61-64.