Stress Management Strategies for Passing NCLEX-RN Exam
Preparing to take the NCLEX-RN exam is stressful. The process of registering and applying for the examination is stressful. Not knowing the outcome of the examination is stressful. Although you know you are going to experience stress, you still need to face the challenge and deal with the stressful experience the healthy way. You need to manage your stress for you to achieve your goal of passing the NCLEX-RN examination. Here are some tried and tested strategies you can apply in managing your NCLEX associated stress.
- Manage yourself.
Yes, everything in this world begins with the self. All the other strategies for managing stress are futile if you cannot manage yourself. To manage yourself, you need some time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What do you need to improve on? Are you a procrastinator? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? How do you respond to a stressful situation? What are your coping habits? Look within you and find that strength to begin facing the stressful preparation for the NCLEX-RN examination.
- Exercise regularly.
Increasing your physical activities allows for the body to improve its blood circulation and its toxins are released through the sweat. There is that rejuvenated feeling after exercising. This wonderful energy and vitality gives you the boost to fight the effects of stress. Find time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week or at least 10 minutes of daily exercise. Aerobic exercise helps release tension and stress. Walking helps you maintain a healthy weight, prevents heart disease, manages your blood pressure, strengthens your bones and muscles, improves your balance and coordination, and most especially improves your mood. It therefore makes you feel good while reviewing for the NCLEX-RN exam.
- Do not be a perfectionist.
Perfectionism is one source of avoidable stress. Set realistic standards for yourself and others, and learn to feel just fine with “good enough.” Start with something like reading a chapter of your review book or answering 50 questions in a day for a week without the urge of perfectly cleaning up your room or study area before you begin. Just start reviewing without the need to be perfectly clean, organized and tidy. After answering 50 questions and the result is not what you expected, do not be discouraged. It’s perfectly alright not to get an impressive score initially. What is important is that you are consistent in your review and practice questions and that you are persistent, not perfect.
- Improve your attitude.
Positive attitude is the key to success. Optimism fuels you to take small steps to get to where you want to go inspite of difficulties. Positivity allows you to reflect on the good things in your life and keeping a positive perspective drives you to do things you need to do in preparation for your NCLEX-RN examination. As a stress management strategy, a positive attitude helps you cope with stress in healthy ways. Positive attitude also makes it easier for you to accept things you cannot change. It is therefore necessary that you improve on your attitude by turning negativities to positivity. How do you do this? One way is to stop comparing yourself to others. Convince yourself that no matter what you will pass the NCLEX-RN exam whether it is your first time to take it, the second time, or the third. Regardless of how many attempts you made, you will make it this time. Do not dwell on your inadequacies, instead focus on improving your attitude. Focus on your strength and wonderful self. Perform positive affirmations and self-talk. Say, “I will pass the NCLEX-RN exam.” Remember “hakuna matata,” it means no worries. All is well.
- Time Management
Time management is only effective when you are able to manage yourself. When you do planning about the things you need to do daily, as much as possible be disciplined enough to stick to your planned schedule. If there are things that are out of your own control, learn to be flexible. Adjust your tasks and schedule. One important thing to remember when managing your time is the ability to determine which tasks are necessary, urgent, and not that important. Do those tasks that are really urgent first and then those that are necessary but not so urgent and last in the list should be those that can wait. When you are in dilemma which activity to prioritize, use Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. Activities that address physiological needs can be top in your list. Safety needs, love and belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization needs can follow in this order. Your NCLEX-RN examination preparation is one of your esteem needs as it relates to achievement and career. When you are in dilemma whether to attend the birthday party of your family member or practice answering NCLEX test questions, don’t feel so stressed out trying to squeeze in your NCLEX practice questions activity into your daily tasks. Go and enjoy your day with your family. Perhaps it can even uplift your spirit and make you do better on your practice test the next day. Don’t stress yourself trying to cram up activities all in one day. Take it one day at a time.
- Adequate sleep.
Not getting enough sleep will make you feel tired and you end up becoming unproductive with your time. Insufficient sleep is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. You don’t want to experience health problems while preparing for your NCLEX-RN exam, do you? With adequate sleep, you’ll have a better mood. With better mood, you’ll feel good studying or reviewing for your NCLEX-RN examination.
- Try to relax and recharge.
Relaxation decreases muscle tension, improves blood circulation, slows your breathing which in turn reduces oxygen demand, normalizes blood pressure, and heart rate. When you are relaxed, you’ll have more energy to study and practice answering questions for your NCLEX-RN examination. You will also have better sleep and enhanced immunity. When you are relaxed, you will have better concentration and focus. You can think better and critically. Most importantly, you will have better problem-solving abilities which are necessary when answering NCLEX test questions.
Go for a walk. Spend time with nature. Call your best friend. Have a good workout. Write in your journal or blog. Bake cookies and cake. Savor a cup of coffee or tea. Play with your pet or your baby. Water the plants in your garden. Curl up on the sofa with a good book. Light scented candles. Take a long bath. Listen to your favorite music. Watch a comedy movie. Get a massage.
- Express your feelings.
Talk to a friend who had been through the whole process of NCLEX-RN examination from registration, to application, to actually taking it. It is very cathartic when you express your thoughts and feelings of anxiety. The friend who had been through NCLEX can empathize with you. Expressing your feelings can also help alleviate your stress related anxiety.
Remember to MEDITATE when dealing with stress associated with your NCLEX-RN examination preparation. Manage yourself, Exercise regularly, Do not be a perfectionist, Improve your attitude, Time management, Adequate sleep, Try to relax and recharge, and Express your feelings
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