As the end of the school year draws near, you may be feeling the pressure of finals or perhaps what seems like endless hours of studying weighing you down. Finding the motivation just to sit through class may feel like an impossible chore. Eating poorly, not getting enough sleep or exercise, and going out with friends when you should have been studying (aka time mismanagement), may all be contributing to college burnout.
Hang in there! There are ways to cope with the stress and get back on track. Read on for some sure fire tips.
Recognize the symptoms
Burnout is usually slow to build, and without proper care, can become debilitating emotionally and physically. Take notice of how you are feeling and don’t ignore the signs that will only worsen over time if they aren’t addressed.
In “Burnout as a Part of College Culture,” a February 14, 2017, post to Cornell.edu, student Cindy Chen pointed out the tell-tale signs of a burnout that many can relate to.
How to cope
The best way to deal with stress can vary from person to person. The important lesson is to not give up if one coping strategy doesn’t work. This may mean trying several strategies in order to find relief – here are just a few to start.
- Take regular breaks from studying: Do something you love such as exercise, video games, reality TV.
- Put a hold on social media: Shutting off the online clutter allows your mind take a much needed rest.
- Get more sleep: Sure this sounds easier said than done. Do your best to plan your day and study accordingly so you can make sleep a priority.
- Set realistic goals: The more reasonable the goals, the more you will be able to achieve them and decrease the stress.
Don’t get caught in the achievement trap
If you find yourself comparing your academic performance to your peers, now is the time to try and refocus on yourself. Setting your academic expectations based on other students’ achievements is often a primary driver for burn out. It may be difficult not to notice how your fellow students are performing, but make a conscious effort to reevaluate your own goals and that will cut down on the anxiety you may be feeling.
In a March 3, 2017, post, “Why College Students Today are So Burned Out,” in the Huffington Post that originally ran in The Chronicle, Duke University’s independent student newspaper, Carly Stern, a Duke student, emphasized the importance of centering your attention on your own goals and not those of others.
If you are having difficulty dealing with the stress, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Seeking out professional counseling through mental health services on campus can help diagnose and treat difficulties related to anxiety, depression and social anxiety.
In a September 2014 article, “Students under pressure,” for the American Psychological Association, Amy Novotney writes about how college campuses across the country are looking at new approaches to mental health services on campus.
Checking out your campus resources to address your burnout can be one of the most important steps to recovery.