The constant internal and external demands of college life can quickly lead to physical, mental and emotional burnout if you’re not careful. However, this scenario doesn’t have to unfold; you can avoid college burnout with the proper de-stressing strategies. You must focus on meeting your basic needs, implementing time-management skills and finding time for yourself.
If you want your body to keep going, you must give it proper nutrition. The University Health Center at the University of Georgia points out that eating a nutrient-dense diet will increase your physical, mental and emotional stamina; boost your immune system; help you maintain a healthy weight; and help you feel good about yourself. It will also help provide fuel for your body to make it through your classes, studying, projects and exams. Without the proper nutrients, your personal gas tank will be running on empty and may contribute to burnout. Don’t forget to drink lots of water each day, too.
The obligations of college life shouldn’t make your sleeping needs take a back seat. Sleep allows you to recharge your body and mind so you can keep going throughout the day. Shoot for six to eight hours of sleep every night. Keep the late-night cram sessions to a minimum. Poor sleeping habits can lead to burnout quickly.
Exercise can help you burn off steam, give you more energy and sharpen your mental productivity. With all of the demands that you have during college, you may feel as if you don’t have time to exercise. If you rearrange your schedule a bit, you can find some time to squeeze it in. You can bring your note cards or vocabulary list and study while you run on a treadmill or use a stationary bike. Leave 15 to 30 minutes earlier than necessary for class and take a brisk walk around campus. Spend 15 minutes doing yoga in the morning or before bed.
You don’t need to devote every moment of your life to college. Find a non-college-related activity or hobby that makes you happy. Hiking, hanging out with friends, painting, going to the movies and playing music can help you unplug from the academic scene and allow you to enjoy something just for the fun of it. If you have an enjoyable outlet, it can help you de-stress and feel refreshed. Even an hour or two a week can make a difference.
If you write out your schedule in a student planner and stick to it, you can strengthen your time-management skills, cut down on wasted time and possibly find more time for yourself throughout the week. Writing down your schedule can help you remember your assignments, classes, project due dates, exam dates and appointments. It can also help keep your schedule in perspective, so you don’t spend valuable time and energy worrying about whether you’re forgetting something.
Consider taking the summer before you enter college off to just unwind and relax. Harvard College even recommends taking a year off between high school and college to travel, work on a special project or participate in another enjoyable activity. They offer this suggestion so you can return to a balanced state before starting this important stage of your life. By the end of high school, many students already feel the strain of burnout, even before starting college classes.