Burnout is, simply put, when you feel overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted by your responsibilities. It is a widespread phenomenon, especially amongst students like us living in such a fast-paced country. This article will go into how we can avoid burnout in uni. So, if you find yourself constantly stressed out, make sure to read till the end!
1. Recognise the signs of burnout
While we all know that feeling stressed out is a massive sign of burnout, there are many other things we should look out for. This is so we can nip the issue in the bud as soon as it begins instead of allowing things to snowball.
Firstly, it’s important to know that burnout manifests in different ways, including physically and emotionally. Physical symptoms include headaches and stomachaches or intestinal issues. You may also feel tense all over. Emotional signs of burnout can include feeling drained or like you’re unable to cope with the workload. Having low energy also suggests that you may be experiencing burnout.
Practically speaking, if your performance is dropping, be it your grades or club activities, you may also want to take a step back and see if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed recently. Having some self-awareness goes a long way in getting yourself back on track!
2. Avoid overloading your timetable
Many people overload their timetables by packing in more modules than they can handle. It’s important to understand your limits and avoid biting off more than you can chew. To do this, you should find out more about the modules you’re planning to apply to before deciding to commit to them.
Ask around to find out how the workload is like and how you’ll be graded before deciding to cram the module in that very semester. This can help you to plan your schedule better. For example, if you’re working part-time, you may request less shifts for that semester so that you can study.
Burnout usually results from trying to cram too much too soon. By overloading your timetable, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin. It is thus better to have a timetable that is not too demanding. Give yourself some leeway to relax and schedule other things in.
3. Learn to prioritise your responsibilities
Besides studying, you may also want to spend your time doing other things such as hanging out with your friends or pursuing your hobbies. If you have a job, you will have to take that into account as well.
Other variables also come into play. I have friends who own pets such as cats or fish, and taking care of their pets costs them a significant amount of time and energy. After all, they have to buy pet food or change the litter box or tank water. Thus, do also think about the little things that may eat into your time when considering your priorities.
Prioritising your responsibilities does not simply mean to rank them from most important to least important. It also means taking into account the urgency of your tasks and how fast they can be done. While the politically correct answer is to prioritise your schoolwork, it is not always practical to live out.
For example, you may opt to attend your friend’s birthday party instead of studying for that test next week because a birthday only comes once a year while you still have a whole week ahead to study for your test. Or, you may run that errand for your mother since it only takes half an hour, and you can always study any time whereas your mother needs your help now.
4. Have an exit strategy
When you’re burned out, it’s important to do something to help you unwind and detach yourself from the stress. This could be playing video games or simply going out to a café with your friends. It’s to help you recharge and regain your motivation since studying even harder would only make you more stressed out and tired.
During this period, it would likely also benefit you to practise some self-care. Taking care of yourself physically with more rest and even a new skin mask should help you to feel renewed and ready to take on your responsibilities again.
Confiding in your friends or family may also help you to feel better when you realise you aren’t alone in your struggles. They may also be able to offer solutions to the problems you’re having. Even if they aren’t able to help you in practical ways, being able to receive emotional support in itself is good as well.
At the end of the day, it’s important to take care of your mental health. Identifying your stressors can go a long way when preventing burnout. However, burnout may be inevitable sometimes. When it happens, we should remember that we are only human and need rest.
Do take care!