Academic burnout is real. Prolonged stress often leads to physical, mental, and emotional burnout that leaves you feeling frustrated. If you’re constantly plagued by negative feelings and find yourself demotivated or distracted for far too long, it could be burnout. Academic burnout can also manifest itself as physical and mental health diseases and disorders and should therefore not be ignored .
The good news, however, is there are several ways to combat burnout. Here are some tips that could help:
Set realistic goals: Having too much on your plate can be worrisome and cause you anxiety. You’ll have to juggle classes, assignments, extracurricular activities, socializing, and whatnot, which won’t be an easy thing to do. Be practical and choose a course that isn’t too rigorous and demanding. Sign up for extracurricular activities only if you have enough time and bandwidth to handle it. Manage your time wisely. Use Google calendar or any other tracker to develop a comfortable schedule and set achievable everyday goals. Planning your schedule and goal setting will also help you prioritize your tasks and save you tons of time and energy.
Take regular breaks: Overcommitment can cause burnout. Plan your schedule in such a way that you have time to pause before you move from one thing to another. Breaks help you relax, recharge, and restore your focus, which in turn can help you function better. You can take short breaks to listen to your favorite songs, doodle, chat with your friends, or do pretty much anything that helps you recharge.
Say ‘no’ and say it as frequently as you can: It’s essential to set boundaries and it’s okay to say ‘no’ to others. In fact, psychologists today encourage people to say ‘no’ and it’s no longer considered impolite. Be it a party or a student club meeting, it’s okay to give it a miss if you’re feeling too exhausted or overwhelmed.
Strike a balance: Balance is key to achieve your goals. Make sure you balance your school work and personal life. Study hard, give it your best shot, and while you’re at it, take some time off whenever you need it. Focus on self care and involve yourself in activities that will help you take your mind off things that worry you or cause anxiety. Make time for friends, family, and loved ones from time to time.
Have a healthy lifestyle: Eat healthy and say no to junk food. Get enough sleep because lack of sleep can increase the stress hormone called cortisol in your body. Cortisol can increase your blood pressure and cause other lifestyle diseases which could slow your progress down or even cost you a semester if you don’t watch out. Drink enough water and exercise regularly. Being physically active will release hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine which are known for promoting positive feelings which will help combat effects of stress on your body.
If you feel exhausted or overwhelmed and are unable to cope with stress, seek help. Know that you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to friends, family, or a professional counselor. Most colleges have a qualified psychologist or student counselor who can help you and guide you on how to manage stress and avoid burnout.