Tips to Avoid Burnout
The spring semester is coming close to its end, and if you are anything like me, you are tired. Let’s face it, being a college student is exhausting work. The result will be so fulfilling, and we will all be smiling bright with our accomplishments, but we must get there first. That means that taking care of your health must be a priority. Burnout is a syndrome caused by poorly managing persistent stress, and many college students struggle with it. Because it is so common and difficult to manage, I would like to provide you with a list of tips that I’ve discovered and utilized to avoid burning out (or recover from it).
1. Take care of your physical health
Sometimes it can be easy to get distracted and start neglecting your physical health when you are busy with your classes, work, friends, and just life itself. It is a lot, and we may forget to care for ourselves physically. It is imperative that we make conscious efforts and take time to make sure our bodies can function at their best. I know you’ve heard it before, but it is true. Drink plenty of water, move your body in some way every day, and eat good meals. Make these seemingly simple things into habits that you take real time for.
2. Take care of your emotional, mental, and spiritual self
I have found that people often overlook the importance of their emotional, mental, and spiritual health. These things are so important to us as human beings, and what is healthy can look different for each and every one of us. This means take time to sit with yourself, reflect on your values and goals, and what makes you happy and fulfilled. If you have spiritual or religious practices, make time to do that. If not, simply make time to reflect or do something you enjoy. Some of us struggle with our mental wellness, and it may be beneficial to seek out professional help in those situations. Whatever you need to do or get done, make sure that you feel okay doing it. You must take care of yourself first before you can do anything else.
3. Spend quality time with friends and loved ones
It is so important to take breaks from studying and working. This goes along with the previous tip in caring for your emotional health, but it is important enough to have its own category. Spending quality time with the people you love can make the difference in burning out and thriving. Confide in your friends and family, they want to be there for you.
4. Remember why you started
We are all here for a similar reason; we want to further our education. That said, we all have our specific and personal reasons for wanting to do that. Remember why you did. Take time to set goals and reflect on past ones. Think about the things you have accomplished so far and what you want to do in the future. How can you make that happen? What are you doing right now to make it happen? It is important to note that the previous tips should always come first. You cannot give what you do not have, so once you’ve taken care of your health you can think about these things.
5. Seek help
If it has gotten to the point that you are already on the downhill side of burning out, there are always people out there to help you, you only need to ask for it. In the Center for Academic Success and Transition, we offer Peer Mentors and Success Coaches if the problem involves academics or transitioning to college. We are here to support you and want to make sure you have access to the right resources. If the issue you are having pertains to your mental or emotional health, reach out to Missouri State’s Counseling Center. You get eight free counseling sessions every semester, already paid for. If it’s about being a multicultural student and everything that goes along with that, you can contact Multicultural Services. If you are struggling with anything else, reach out to someone. That person can be someone from the university, a friend, or a family member. This is always someone out there who wants to help you.
Burnout is a real problem for college students, and sometimes it can be unavoidable. These tips are useful in an effort to try to avoid it, or as ways to recover. All you can do is your best. Try your best to take care of yourself, have empathy for your own struggles, and be gentle with yourself. You deserve to be here and to meet your goals. Help is there if and when you need it, you only have to ask. Thank you for reading, I will leave you with this quote from Banksy,
“If you get tired, learn to rest—not to quit.”
(Bio: My name is Georgia Grace Wright, a junior at MSU majoring in Communication Studies. I also have minors in both Creative Writing and Anthropology.)