Libraries, books and tests — oh my! School can provide some of the best moments in life, but it can also throw obstacles your way. An overload of assignments and extracurricular activites will quickly wear you out. This phenomenon is known as burnout, and researchers define it as a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion brought on by prolonged stress.
Whether you’re experiencing burnout or want to avoid it, this post will teach you everything you need to know about battling the de-motivation beast.
The first way to prevent burnout is to know what it is and how it manifests in you. Everyone’s body is different. Therefore, signs might show up in a variety of ways. Some people overeat when they’re stressed, while others pass on the snacks. Some toss and turn all night with insomnia — others sleep over eight hours a day. However, a set of baseline criteria will point you in the right direction:
Now that you recognize the telltale symptoms, you can avoid frantic searches on how to prevent burnout in school. You can also distinguish an episode of burnout from severe conditions like depression, which worsen if untreated. A case of burnout can morph into depression if it lasts longer than three weeks. Rule out other fatigue-related disorders, such as anemia and hypothyroidism, by checking with your doctor.
Time management is a killer skill, but many people don’t use it as much as they should. Thankfully, it’s simple to start and doesn’t take much time from your day. Prioritize your tasks by importance and difficulty. Then, tackle the hardest ones when you feel most productive. Your energy levels fluctuate during the day, defined by your Circadian rhythm. Recognize peak times you can work without exhausting yourself.
Avoid procrastination by completing assignments ahead of time. A ton of unfinished work only stresses you out — why not start on projects as soon as you get them? Set target goals for how much schoolwork you plan to accomplish each day.
So simple it’s almost a no-brainer — take a break! Still, this is easier said than done if you’re always on-the-go. If you hate saying no, responsibilities can quickly pile up. Start working that muscle and let people know your time isn’t a wide-open void. Buffer your response with a compliment or valid excuse if you feel uncomfortable being direct. Say it with me now — no, non, nein and net.
Once you have time, avoid using it all on Netflix binges or social media sprees. Do activities you love, meet with friends or try something new. DIY projects are a great use of your day, and they can double as art therapy.
Meaningful social interaction can effectively mitigate stress, especially when you hang out with people you love and trust. Talk to a friend or parent about how you feel. You can also visit a school counselor. A listening ear allows you to express your worries and concerns without judgment. You can also receive helpful advice about lessening your workload and learning to unplug.
If your problems revolve around an overabundance of responsibilities — like running a school organization — ask your peers for help. Inform your teachers of your struggles and ask about options for extending deadlines. Link up with a tutor if you’re struggling with a particular subject — most schools offer free and accessible services.
We all know the importance of taking care of our bodies — but sometimes the bed feels too good to abandon. Likewise, you may find yourself skipping a meal or two to meet a deadline. However, breaking these habits helps restore your health, which can prevent a major meltdown. Set a sleep routine and cut off all obligations after a specific time each night. Create notifications on your phone to remind you to stop for meals.
Exercise a few times each week to boost your motivation. It doesn’t need to be anything strenuous — a walk in the park will suffice. Implement a healthy diet if you’ve been slacking on the nutritious eats. Swap out a bowl of potato chips for kale chips, or try a bag of almonds instead of M&Ms.
Prioritize health and beat exhaustion before it pays an unexpected visit. Burnout is the bane of many, but it doesn’t have to be yours. Create an awesome semester with the right information on how to prevent burnout in school.