Student burnout has become the norm. Because of academic goals, pressure, and competition students face, they can certainly work themselves to the point of fatigue, thinking that their youth and energy can take the stress. Parents become very concerned when their children experience study burnout, and this is more true for parents who are working abroad and live far from their children.
Let’s say Student A is in college and is told to constantly keep doing better, set higher goals, and achieve more in school. Of course, she does this to be the best in school and make her family proud. Aside from this pressure to be the best, because Student A is active on social media and is glued to her gadgets, she is available to anyone, 24/7. Because of the academic pressure and the time spent on her device and on social media, Student A sleeps very late but has to wake up early the next morning. To make things more difficult, Student A lives alone because her parents are both working abroad. This means that aside from the curricular and co-curricular activities of Student A, she also has to do the household chores.
This overload of activities made Student A experience different symptoms of burnout such as feeling tired and drained most of the time, frequent illness, loss of motivation, feeling alone in the world, and procrastination. When her parents check up on her via video calls, they would notice the physical and emotional changes in their child. They tried to talk to her about her daily activities and the changes she’s undergoing. The conversation revealed that Student A is undergoing burnout. Because of this, her mother was very worried and wanted to come home and stay with her.
Are you seeing yourself in Student A’s situation? Don’t lose heart. You can overcome and avoid burnout by following these 15 tips on how you can deal with it:
1. Evaluate your priorities.
Ask yourself, “What is most important to me?” By clarifying your priorities to yourself and to others, it will be easy for you to know which activities should be done first on your list. It will also enable you to easily make decisions when faced with multiple tasks and invitations.
Beware of adopting the priorities of your peers and friends because theirs may likely be different from yours. To overcome burnout, stick to your own priorities instead of thinking that it is necessary for you to adopt what others put first in their lives.
2. Get organized.
Another way to recover from burnout is by organizing your life. Have a planner with you, and schedule your daily and weekly activities. This will enable you to see how much work you have accepted to do and gauge if you can accept more responsibilities or not. It also prevents you from procrastinating. Aside from organizing your schedule, arranging your things at school and at home will also help to keep your mind focused, especially if you’re studying.
3. Be realistic in setting goals.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and you can only do so much within that time. If you’ve got too many tasks on your hands, set realistic goals you can accomplish each day, taking rest into consideration, to avoid student burnout and decision fatigue. Accept that you have limitations, and pushing yourself to the limit can make you sick and keep you from accomplishing all your tasks.
4. Take small breaks when studying.
Ferris Jabr, in his article about the brain’s need for downtime, explains the benefit of taking breaks. “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance,” he wrote.
Taking breaks when you study will help you retain the information you take in, and it will also keep you from experiencing burnout. Make use of these breaks to take naps or short walks outside to refresh your mind, instead of checking your social media accounts.
5. Get sufficient rest and sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation outlined the recommended hours of sleep of each individual based on age. Teenagers (14-17 years old) need 8-10 hours of sleep and younger adults (18-25 years old) need 7-9 hours of sleep. Aside from getting the required hours of sleep, another factor to combat student burnout is having a good quality of sleep. Once you get enough sleep, your body will be refreshed. You will wake up in the morning full of energy, ready to face your goals and activities for the day.
Exercising boosts your body, mind, and mood. If you take time to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, this will help increase your energy, sharpen your focus, and relax your mind and body from the tension you experience because of burnout and stress. Try out simple exercises for students to improve your health and mind.
7. Eat healthy foods.
If you’re a student, you may be tempted to eat processed foods instead of healthy meals. To avoid burnout and to keep your mind sharp and focused, set aside time to prepare simple but healthy meals and snacks. To improve your mental health, boost the omega-3s in your diet, as this is good for your brain and in overcoming burnout.
8. Declare a time off from your digital gadget and from social media.
Because of digital gadgets, social media, and the Internet, you can make yourself available, 24/7. Sometimes even during the wee hours of the day, someone can message you and wake you from your sleep. Improper use of social media can take away much of your precious time that, instead, you could be using to accomplish your school tasks. Learn how to take a break from your device and from social media.
9. Learn to say “no.”
As a youth who is full of energy, you may fall into the trap of accepting every invitation and tasks offered to you. If you keep on saying “yes” to everything, you might get burnt out by thinking how you can accomplish them in so little time. Learning to say “no” to things that are not that important is a good step in avoiding burnout. This will also give you more time for yourself and the things you need and want to accomplish.
10. Renew yourself.
Having “me” time is important for your mental and physical well-being. It is also a good way to renew yourself after accomplishing your school tasks. This presents an opportunity for you to celebrate the small victories you have accomplished at school and in life. These celebrations can help you recover from burnout and enjoy life.
11. Do what you enjoy.
Admit it or not, academic activities may not be something you always enjoy doing. If you’re suffering from decision fatigue and student burnout, recover by setting time once a day to do what you enjoy. This may include going to the beach, watching movies, playing with your dog, or painting. When you do what you enjoy, you get motivated and feel a sense of purpose.
12. Reach out to those closest to you.
Students who suffer from study burnout tend to feel alone and isolated. Socializing with friends and family is a good way to overcome burnout. This is a good opportunity to share your worries and joys with them. Your family and friends will be very happy to listen and help you out. Having someone listen to you pour out your stress and worries lessens the burden you feel and gives you peace of mind to face the challenges of every day.
13. Limit your contact with negative people.
If surrounding yourself with positive people will help you recover from burnout, being with negative people can induce burnout and drag your mood. While working with negative people may not be helped, you can choose to limit the time you spend with them; so that your positive energy will not be sapped.
14. Ask for help.
Your school likely has a list of institutions that can provide you with sound advice and assistance if you’re experiencing student burnout. Take full use of your school’s counseling, career guidance, and academic support to help you cope and recover from burnout. They can give you practical advice and real-world experiences of students who were able to successfully combat burnout.
15. Have a sense of security.
If you’re like Student A at the beginning of this article having a sense of security when you’re alone will help lessen your burnout. Check your home for signs that it’s time to upgrade your alarm system. Having an upgraded alarm system will give you a sense of security and will make you prepared for home invasions. If you know you’re safe, and your parents know that your home has an upgraded and trustworthy alarm system, everyone will feel relieved.
Student burnout should not be the norm. Following these 15 tips will help you overcome and avoid student burnout, get a sense of security, and be happy with whatever stones and lemons life throws at you today and in the future.