10 Top tips to avoid burnout as a Notts student

Winter is burnout season after all

Deadline season is here in all its miserable, dark-circle-inducing glory. With suffocating workloads and avalanches of anxiety, I salute you if you’re coping even a little bit. When you’re leaving the library later and later into the evenings, and socialising is forced to take a backseat, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy habits in an attempt to keep up with everything your modules throw at you.

It’s prime time for student burnout, and once you’re deep in that funk it’s a nightmare trying to get out of it. So to help you on your way, here are our top tips for preventing burnout before it’s got its grubby mitts on you.

1. Break it down and make a plan

One step at a time. Start by writing down every upcoming deadline and breaking each one down into manageable tasks that are less time consuming to check off. Bonus points if you treat yourself to an extra couple of tasks at the start of the list for little things you have already completed. This helps to give you a bit of confidence through all the overwhelm to reassure you that you are moving forward and you are capable of getting through the rest of the list.

2. Fix your sleep cycle

All nighters are so tempting, but try your best to not give in. Maintaining a regular sleep cycle is crucial for feeling on top of everything, and waking up at the same time every day with a solid 8 hours behind you helps to get the cogs turning and develop a routine. You’re far less likely to procrastinate your way out of the first sit down at a desk if it’s part of your autopilot. After all, sacrificing good quality sleep only heightens anxiety, reduces your ability to concentrate and strains your body.

3. Find a balance

It’s a hot take, but Crisis is still calling your name. Slaving away 24/7 with no opportunities to blow off steam with your pals is a bonafide recipe for burnout. It’s easy to feel like time spent with friends would be better spent on uni work, but humans are social creatures, and spending quality time with those who energise you is the best kind of break from the laptop screen. So don’t feel guilty and go take a dip in the big O.

4. The five minute rule

Famously, the hardest part is getting started. Tell yourself that all you have to do is sit down and work for just five minutes. After those initial five minutes, you can stop if you really need to, and try again later. But most of the time you’ll rediscover it’s really never as tedious or taxing as you anticipated it to be. Congratulations – you’re in the flow. 

5. Study buddies

Having friends there to hold you accountable while you study is a great way to ensure you don’t end up down a TikTok rabbit hole instead. Don’t isolate yourself – we’re all in this together! That being said, pick your study buddies wisely. You don’t want to end up distracted and gossiping for hours on end, because that will only add to the stress and put you in a worse position.

6. Be kind to yourself

Speak to yourself as you would speak to someone else you love and care about. By all means exercise your self-discipline, but don’t let your inner monologue hurl insults at you, and forgive yourself if you’ve left it all a little last minute.

7. Stay fit and healthy

Fuel your body with nutritious meals and keep up whatever forms of exercise work for you. Abandoning your normal healthy rituals will shock your system and run you down, leaving potential for illness and extra fatigue. 

8. Drop the people pleasing and perfectionism

Now is not the time to be dishing out all your energy to others. Your draining housemate, your on-off situationship, your toxic friend, should all be avoided at all costs. It’s a lot of mental work to be patient with people for the sake of people pleasing, and you have plenty of other work to be doing.

9. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about grounding yourself and allowing yourself to be present with your emotions so they can be released healthily. There are many ways you can do this. Yoga is a brilliant way to destress, centre yourself, and connect to your body. UoN has a lovely yoga society with multiple classes a week you can go along to. Equally, journaling can be a really helpful way to clear your head and make sure you’re looking after your mental health. 

10. Rewards

Plan something to look forward to when deadline season is finally over. This could be a big night out, a shopping spree, a concert, a trip away – anything you can daydream over that will remind you it will all be worth it in the end.

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