Exam stress. How magnesium can help.
Is it exam term in your household?
It is here. Not important exams, just practice ones, but still enough to see some rising tension. Mainly between how much studying Dad thinks should be happening versus how much the kids think should be happening!
Exam time can be stressful, especially if your teen feels under pressure to achieve certain marks to get into their chosen course at uni. And that can cause a lot of tension for both the child and the parents.
Careers.govt.nz has produced a guide to helping your teen at exam time, with practical advice like helping them to create a study timetable, as well as more holistic advice about staying healthy and well-rested. It’s important to remember at this time of year (any time really!) to care of your physical and mental wellbeing. For example, you’ll struggle to sit an exam if you haven’t slept properly for several nights beforehand.
How can magnesium help?
It’s known that magnesium is a stress-reliever and mood-enhancer. It also promotes restful sleep, and boosts your energy levels and immune system. Magnesium eases muscular tension and cramps. I recently did some exam reader-writer work, and I’d forgotten how tiring it is on the hand, arm and shoulder muscles to write for 2 solid hours!
How to use magnesium to help
Downtime for a teenager usually doesn’t mean enjoying a relaxing Epsom salt* bath. What tempted our teen into it was the thought of 20 minutes of peace and quiet, away from his brother and nagging parents (he finds tidy-up time after dinner to be ideal!), listening to music or sometimes watching Netflix on his device. It’s a great relaxation and mind re-set for him.
Getting outside and burning off some energy on a skateboard or at the basketball hoop is a favourite way to break up our boy’s studying. It’s quite warm at the moment (why are exams always when it’s hot and you’d rather be at the beach?), and sweating depletes magnesium levels, so we also make sure he gets a top-up each night with a few sprays of magnesium oil** on his feet. We do this when he’s in bed. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with him about his day. Or not. Teens don’t always feel chatty! But he knows we’re there if there’s anything on his mind.
* Add 1 – 2 cupfuls of Epsom salt to a warm but not overly hot bath, and relax for at least 15 minutes. Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate and is a lovely way to top up your magnesium levels without having to take supplements.
** This really is the quickest, easiest way to get a magnesium boost. The soles of the feet are ideal as the magnesium oil is absorbed well here, but it can be applied anywhere that is feeling tension eg shoulders and arms after writing exams.
Best of luck to you and your teen. And remember the magnesium for yourself too!
A 5kg tub of Gold Label Epsom salt is enough for 20 baths, using one cupful per bath.
A 250ml bottle of magnesium oil tends to last about 3-4 months with daily use. We find it’s a good idea for each family member to have their own bottle to keep by their bed. We have a very cost-effective 3 pack for just this reason. Our small bottles are handy for on the go – they can be kept in a school bag or kit bag if needed for sore muscles during the day.
PS – I like this article too, with its reminder that “Exams don’t measure how intelligent, caring, generous, funny, or generally wonderful your child is.” Isn’t that lovely?