Hey guys, if you follow my Facebook page, you know that I’ve checked out for over a week from my blog in order to focus on midterms. Are you feeling overwhelmed by your studies, and stressed out but also lacking motivation to work hard? I’ve definitely been there before. Ever since ninth grade, burn out has made a visit to me at least once a year. A lot of experience, though, can lead to better strategies for coping with burn out. Let’s go over three steps to prevent burnout, and also a really helpful video at the end I discovered in high school and re-watch whenever I feel like I’m about to go under.
- Implement mandatory me-time every, single, day. What do you do during your me-time? Hike. Watch a movie. Watch Youtube. Make music playlists. Experiment with makeup. Do a facial mask. There are only two rules: it has to be at least 1 hour long, and you absolutely cannot do work during that time. As I have to read and write a lot for classes at colleges, my break is always at night, right before I head to bed. I check up on Facebook, eat a block of dark chocolate or a banana, check up on Youtube, and then watch 30 Rock on Netflix before turning in for the night. That is usually 2 hours of me time, un-interrupted. How do you fit in two whole hours for relaxation? Simple. I wake up before 9 every single day and organize my time so that after 9PM, there is no work left to be done for the day. In essence, I work 12 hours with breaks for meals, exercise, and being social. Of course I have time for a mere 2 hours of me-time at night! In high school I could only fit in half an hour of true me-time, but that still made a huge different in my emotional wellbeing.
- For big assignments and exams, reward yourself with something big. Often, it is bigger academic tasks that can lead to burn out. You work your butt off for one midterm, and yet in two days there is another one, and also a paper due by the end of the week. It feels logical to just power through each midterm without too much breathing time then pound that paper immediately after the midterms are over. Maybe you’ll watch a movie or something but too much fun and you’ll lose your momentum, right? Wrong. Try to do something you usually don’t have time to do, like cooking a fancy dinner, going shopping, or trying to make crafts. This way, your brain really gets to rest, be stimulated by different environments/movements, and restore itself. After a midterm, going on Netflix for two hours may not be enough to switch the brain off before it fries itself apart. And remember, you aren’t wasting time – you are fueling your brain so that it performs faster when you need it to.
- Lastly, rethink your relationship with the word ‘grades’. I myself am working with this still, but the bottom line is – we should never learn for the grade. A website I once read explains it really well: most people try to get better GPAs to get better jobs to support a family then have a kid who can then get good grades and get a good job, etc. Now I’m not saying you should not care about your career or your family, but you can see how it becomes a vicious, albeit meaningless, cycle. Of course, it is beautiful, admirable, and brave to be willing to fight for your career goals and life passions. However, we should hunker down and study that Biology or Philosophy book for 3 hours in the library to expand our brains, to stretch our thinking, not for the GPA. That is what education is about: finding yourself and knowing the world around you on an in-depth level. Grades are important, but nonetheless secondary – they are trackers to see if you are absorbing material affectively. Obsessing over a B “because you need to get an A or you’ll fail at life” is too extreme.
Before I let you go, I’d like to share this Youtube video that has really helped keep things in perspective during high school and in college. Enjoy, and happy weekend!