There comes a time in every students life that they start to feel burnout. For some it happens early on, others in the later stages when they are nearing completion of there degree. Some will feel it as a direct result of their studies and others will feel it as a reaction to a combination of competing demands in their life. How and when you feel it isn’t the important factor. Whats important is that you recognise it as burnout and take some steps to change before you find yourself feeling less and less motivated, withdrawing from friends and experiencing some of the early signs of depression.
So how do you know if you have burnout? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I exhausted?
- Do I find it difficult to find the energy to study?
- Am I getting increasingly frustrated and cynical about my study?
- Am I having memory difficulties, find it difficult to concentrate or unable to see another perspective?
- Are my grades slipping?
- Am I having problems in my relationships at uni?
- am I still satisfied with my choice of degree?
If you have answered yes to a few of these it could be a case of burnout. I know what you are all saying – Yes I have all of those! I have a heap of assessment work due and exam time is looming – of course I have burn out. And the closer we get to the end of the semester the more you will isolate yourself, withdraw from social functions, have difficulty sleeping and concentrating. This is all to be expected. So here are a few things that might help you with these.
- Take relaxation seriously and make sure you are getting regular study breaks – don’t just push through take 5 -10 minutes to do a relaxation exercise.
- Don’t narrow yourself to study only – make sure you are still socialising with friends and family and engaging in physical activity.
- Unplug the distraction of electronic communication devices – take a break from Facebook, check e-mail once a day not 20, and turn off your phone.
- Get some sleep (This might be a topic I will explore more with you all later in the week).
- Get organised and make some study plans
- Pay attention to your body – eat and exercise regularly and get some sleep, did I mention sleep already?
There you have it the magic recipe for getting through the next few weeks, and if that doesn’t work but you survive the exams anyway remember that you get a month holiday after them!