Finals season has arrived and students everywhere are beyond stressed out. Many are trying to finish out the semester as strong as possible. While the effort and work ethic is appreciated, sometimes students push themselves a bit too hard to the point of burnout as they are gearing up for their final exams and assignments. If you think that you have hit burnout, keep reading for 5 important steps to help you get through it this finals season.
1. Recognize The Signs
Burnout is often associated with work and as a college student, whether full-time or part-time, school is a job. We work as hard as we possibly can to be successful, sacrifices are made and stress levels can be pretty high. Maybe too high for some to the point that it feels overwhelming to the point of it being debilitating. If it feels THAT overwhelming, pause, step away from your task and let’s recognize the common signs of burnout.
- Constant exhaustion
- Lacking motivation
- Feelings of frustration, being highly overwhelmed, easily irritable, cynicism, etc.
- Decline of concentration
- Possible suffering of grades and of job/school performance
- Isolation from friends and or social situations
- Possible body aches (joints, headaches, etc.) that cannot be readily explained
There are many more nuanced signs of burnout but these are just a few to start looking for. Many times people will have these feelings and dismiss them as a momentary feeling. When these feelings begin to negatively impact your performance and day-to-day life it is a sign that it is definitely time to recognize the sign and take action.
Typical causes of burnout in college students can often be attributed to:
- Overwhelming class loads
- An imbalance between school and their personal lives
- Family and or financial troubles
- Lack of available support
- Time management difficulties
2. Congratulate Yourself On Accomplishments Thus Far
Part of what makes burnout feel so heavy is the feeling of not doing enough or feeling so overwhelmed that it feels like you just can’t keep going. Don’t beat yourself up. Burnout is very much common throughout the populace. Both in the workplace and on campus. Do not beat yourself up. While you are taking a break, be sure to be nice to yourself and give yourself some credit. Give yourself credit for what you have completed. Give yourself credit for how far you’ve come. Give yourself credit for how much of your to-do list, long term and or short term, you’ve been able to check off thus far. Burning out does not mean you messed up or that you’re not accomplishing what you need to at all. Sometimes life just comes at you fast and sometimes we try to take on too much at once. Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far and repeat to yourself that you will be alright and do great on your exams or final assignments.
3. Go Forth In Intervals
One reason many people feel overwhelmed to the point of burning out is disorganization. Say you have multiple important assignments that are all in close proximity to each other and you tried to do them all at once. Procrastination get the best of us and can be a bit unforgiving. Once you’re ready to come back from your break, give yourself five more minutes to hammer out a plan of attack. Devise a plan of how you are going to get through your assignments and complete them one by one. If you are having trouble focusing or powering through, set timers. Set a timer for say 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes try your best to push out as much work as possible. Type out a paragraph, work through some equations or start that presentation. Whatever it is, work for 30 minutes straight. Once those 30 minutes are up, set another timer for you to take a break. During your break time, do activities to help you cope and refresh yourself. Meditate, take a walk or -my personal favorite- take a nap. Do what you need to in order to recharge and to come back to your tasks at hand refreshed. After a while, this routine should help you complete your assignments and studying through the burnout.
4. Seek Support
Burnout can often be connected to the state of one’s mental health. The state of your mental health can be a contributing factor to your burnout or the burnout could worsen your mental health. Either way one of the best ways to deal with the feeling of burnout is finding support. Remember that you are not alone in this feeling, plenty of your fellow classmates are feeling it too- especially around finals. If your campus offers counseling services and or support groups for stress, take advantage of those. Part of what makes burnout so bad is that it becomes very much internalized. It builds up within oneself because it can be hard to explain as many people do not want to appear as though they are as stressed as they are or as previously stated many people just simply do not recognize when they are burnt out. Talk to someone or be around people who you feel understand what you are going through, it will take an enormous weight off of your shoulders. Your mental health is just as if not more important than your grades.
5. Be Proactive
Prevention of burnout is just as important as combatting it. Now that you have gotten through this period, let’s make sure that it doesn’t happen again any time soon.
- Recognize the signs! Don’t just simply write off signs of burnout. Listen to your mind and body before things get bad.
- Create a schedule and stick to it! Google calendar is your friend, create a schedule for you to stick by in order to keep you from feeling overwhelmed by deadlines and to naturally improve your time management skills.
- Find your happy past-time. Part of prevention is having something to keep you relaxed or leveled out.
- Keep a support system! Don’t bottle up your feelings or feel like you have to carry the load by yourself.
- Know when to walk away! Know how many classes are TOO many classes. Know how many work hours are TOO many working hours. Know when to say “no” and when to drop and walk away.