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8 Ways to Avoid Burnout As a Student

Student Life

June 07, 2023

As students, we are constantly being pushed to be the best academic version of ourselves. We have parents nagging us about getting good grades, teachers pushing loads of homework onto us, and oftentimes, we have ourselves striving to perform at our top potential.

But sometimes, our passionate efforts to succeed don't accelerate us and allow us to excel, but rather, slow us down, leading to burnout. Sometimes our own fire becomes too great. On our academic road to success, we must also make the effort to find balance within our studies to avoid exhausting ourselves.

However, if you're reading this as someone who has already experienced burnout, just know burnout doesn't equate to a failure in any way; it's merely a sign that you need a break. So here are 8 ways to avoid burnout as a student, or if you've already caught a case of it, improve your studying habits so that you can recover from it.

#1 Stay active

I sound like my mom when I say this, but there is really so much to gain from staying active. Not only does it maintain physical health, but getting up to move around alleviates stress and improves one's sense of well-being. I think most students can agree that sitting at a desk for hours can make one feel sluggish, so it's crucial to exercise regularly. Often, studying for too long causes us to lose our focus as well, so going on a quick walk or doing a short workout can help us take a break and regain our focus.

#2 Hang out with your friends

It's a common misconception that in order to be successful academically, we have to sacrifice our social life, but the truth is that you can't succeed in anything without knowing how to have fun, and that is why it is so important to hang out with your friends when you need a break from studying. Go watch a movie! Hit up the mall!

Sit in a cafe and gossip! The point is that spending time with the people we care about reminds us of why life is enjoyable and gives everything we do purpose. And sometimes, when you feel like you're on the cusp of breaking down as a result of intense, gruesome studies, that reminder of life's meaning is just the motivation you need.

#3 Treat and reward yourself

I remember that when I was getting exhausted from constant studying for my finals, my mom knocked on my bedroom door to give me a milkshake from Chick-Fil-A, as well as tell me that Pacsun was having a 50% off sale, so if I wanted to buy anything, I could. It seems silly, but at that moment, these treats made all the difference to my mood and energy. I got excited and fell out of my slump a little. Rewarding yourself for your hard work isn't just to please yourself, it can be a great motivator as well and is perfectly healthy (when done in moderation, of course).

#5 Try out and assess different study methods

If you're someone who is constantly just cramming your work into one day, using textbooks to study, and sitting in the same room for hours, then it isn't all that shocking when you get tired of everything all of a sudden. It's important to change your study methods or habits once in a while. Whether that be studying in a library, cafe, or a different room in your house, using flashcards instead of basic textbooks, or utilizing the Pomodoro timer to take breaks, variation keeps the human mind engaged and active. It also just makes things more interesting.

#6 Use lists and planners

A common cause of burnout is just getting overwhelmed by too much work and not properly pacing yourself as a result of that stress. Try using Google Tasks or even creating an actual list of all the things you have to do. Then, every time you complete a task, you have the privilege of actually checking it off.

A planner is also great for improving the pacing of your assignments: this task for Monday night and the other one for Tuesday. It seems silly, but having a visual representation of what you need to get done improves the likelihood of actually getting the stuff done.

#7 Romanticize your study life (I know this sounds weird)

I know how strange this sounds, but all I really mean is that you can spice things up even when it comes to academics. Whether it be going to an aesthetic cafe and ordering a drink or lighting a candle and playing some calming music, it's easy to make studying a little more enjoyable. Think "Rory Gilmore" aesthetic, you know?

#8 Sleep

There's not much to elaborate on for this one, but getting good sleep might be the most effective way to avoid burnout. We're only human: we need rest. So make sure that you're not cutting back on those hours of beauty rest as a result of your studies. It won't help you in the long run; all it does is cause an individual to constantly feel groggy, cranky, and most of all, unmotivated, burnout's greatest symptom.

In the end, the main takeaway is that avoiding burnout really just comes down to finding balance within your study life and knowing how to enjoy life around you, so make sure to continue prioritizing that balance in your academic journeys!

Naomi Hsu

Writer since Feb, 2023 · 1 published articles

As of 2023, Naomi Hsu is a freshmen in high school. She loves writing, reading, dance, and mock trial. Outside of those hobbies, some of her more playful interests are online shopping, watching Big Hero 6, and listening to Strawberry Guy.