Preventing Burnout

The diabolical signs of study burnout range from depression and a feeling of dread every time you have a deadline looming to chronic fatigue.  Often these symptoms creep up on you because you’re so busy you don’t take time to notice until you suddenly have a meltdown.  It’s important to take a break and examine how realistic your course load is every few months, in addition to how you’re feeling about it.  Then, you can begin to take action to avoid burnout altogether.

Some steps you can take to figure out where you sit are:

  1. Know your limits. We are constantly bombarded with positive, motivational quotes on social media that we can do it all and have it all, if only we keep a positive mindset.  While these have a useful place in our mind space, you are the only one who knows your unique energy levels, health habits, and strategies for coping.  Take stock and create a study and work schedule that works for you, not some wealthy guru with a staff of two hundred helping him or her reach the stars.
  2. Make time for exercise and fresh air breaks every day. If you work in an office and study in the evenings and weekends, scheduling 15-minute walks can stave off lethargy and have you return to your tasks oxygenated and refreshed.
  3. Don’t remain isolated in your misery. If you’re struggling with a heavy study load, share your worries with a friend or family member.  Sometimes all it takes is a reliable ear to alleviate stress and offer perspective that you have accomplished much more and can handle everything ahead, one step at a time.  This goes for maintaining important online social connections with your fellow university students as well—supporting one another through your course work brings a feeling of everyone being capable of getting through it, together.
  4. You’ve probably heard it before, but keeping a healthy, hydrated diet goes a long way in preventing burnout. Your brain will be able to think more clearly with plenty of H20 and healthy snacks, like fruit and cheese plates.  Reduce sugar and caffeine and you’ll feel even more capable of accomplishing all your school goals.
  5. The proverb “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” applies to “all study and no breaks make you burnout.” And no one wants to be around the tired, dull person. Watch comedy for spirit-saving belly laughs and surround yourself with people who know how to look at the lighter side of life.  These mental breaks will sharpen your study skills when crunch time arrives.
  6. Perhaps your feelings of being burnt out are actually not feeling challenged by your course work. Boredom, not burnout.  If that’s the case, consider additional course work to keep yourself interested and enthused by your studies.
  7. If you find you’re chronically tired or stressed, the root cause could be a health issue, such as anemia. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any sickness or an appointment with a nutritionist who can help design a more energizing diet.
  8. Constantly aiming for perfection is a recipe for burnout. Besides, the ideal of the ‘perfect’ paper is a myth.  Instead, aim for your personal best and learn when to let go and relax.

Procrastination is a common habit but may also be a sign of burnout.  Consider looking at ways you can increase your school work efficiency and decrease time wasted on poor habits, like surfing social media.  Then, kiss burnout goodbye and study on.