Hey there Slugs! We’re coming into that sweet spot of the quarter where many of us have our second round of midterms right up to finals week, and this can be a very overwhelming and difficult time. It’s important to know your limits, to know when to push yourself, and when to take a break. So read on to hear Peer Educator, Melissa’s tips to prevent burning out!
OVERWHELMED AND EXHAUSTED?
Tips for Preventing Burnout
By Melissa Newton
If your current school experience is anything like mine right now, you are already a bit overwhelmed. The stress has hit me hard, and as hard as I try to find a peaceful balance to stay motivated and keep up with class work, midterms are already here and taking most of my energy with them. Not only that but there’s an added pressure of looming final exams and papers.
As difficult as this is for me, I am taking all action I can to get through it. I won’t want to continue with school if I get “burnout” from academic stress. In times of stress, more than ever, I feel the need to focus on myself and on the things that keep me going. If I do not routinely and strategically focus on myself and actively try to manage stress, I reach burnout pretty quickly. I lose hours, or even days of time, that could really have helped me finish an assignment and I start to feel guilt or sadness about my academic career. When I stop using preventative strategies, spring quarter becomes nearly impossible to get through.
Avoiding this state of burnout takes some time, and some practice. However, I find many strategies unbelievably helpful to get me through school and keep me eager, interested, and happy as a student. I found some amazing and helpful tips from a video online that I try to always keep in mind. I’ve summarized my favorite tips from the video below (and I’ve also added a bit from my own experience):
- Take action not to take on too much in the way of classes (avoid taking 20+ units when possible) and other commitments (a job, volunteering, a social life, being in a play, being in multiple clubs, etc.). Try to take on only what you realistically know you can without feeling exhausted.
- Try eating well and sleeping enough to keep you going. If you feel stress in your body, try going to the massage chair on campus (Relaxation Station in CAPS)! Exercise is also helpful and energizing (but find a form of bodily movement you really enjoy!)
- De-clutter your workspace to ward off the extra stress and distractions when you do try to study or do assignments. Having excess notes, irrelevant reminders, email notifications, constant pings from your phone, an open Netflix tab, wrappers, and half-eaten food in my study space prevents me from doing ANYTHING to help me feel less stressed, or even slightly motivated to get work done. Staying organized with a task list or planner is also effective for me.
- Take breaks to do things you actually enjoy. For me, taking 2 hours to get sushi or going hiking with friends is a better break from schoolwork than going on Facebook or getting sucked into Tumblr.
- Ask for help when you need it!! Recognize when schoolwork and daily life feels exhausting and difficult. Talk to professors, friends, family, counselors/therapists, or academic advisors when you start to feel really overwhelmed. You are never alone and there are always people who want to help and support you.
If you would like the see the whole video, I’d highly recommend watching it for anyone wanting to manage current stress or to prevent stress from getting more intense or overwhelming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd_mRapoPtg.
I wish you the best of luck in managing your stress. We can get through this, Slugs!