How to Avoid Study Burnout
You want to work hard and earn the best grades possible, and that’s certainly a worthwhile goal. However, contrary to common belief, there really can be too much of a good thing. If you push yourself to the point of “study burnout”, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. What you could be doing is risking your emotional and mental health, and no test or paper is worth that.
How do you know if you’re approaching study burnout?
If you’re working extra hard lately, take notice of these symptoms when they appear:
- Intellectual exhaustion – nothing interests you anymore, and it feels like you just can’t cram anything else into your brain
- Physical fatigue – you’re tired, and don’t have energy to do the things you once loved
- You’ve lost motivation – even the simplest tasks seem overwhelming
- Your memory has short-circuited – you’re studying harder, but you’re remembering less
- Your grades show signs of stress – they’re actually going down, not up
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action against study burnout immediately. Otherwise, it will only get worse.
Rearrange your schedule. Clearly, what you’re doing is not working. You’re either procrastinating, forcing yourself into all-night study sessions, or you’re just plain studying too hard all of the time. Schedule regular study sessions, but be realistic about it. A few hours per day is enough.
Take a break. Even if you schedule a four-hour study session, don’t study for four hours straight. Take breaks. Get up and go for a short walk, grab a snack, or chat with a friend. A fifteen-minute break can do wonders for your morale.
Take care of yourself. Studying is high on your priority list, but there are a few things that should rank even higher: Sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind.
Set realistic goals. We want you to be ambitious, sure, but there’s a fine line between ambition and perfectionism. One is admirable, while the other is a dangerous, compulsive habit. Learn the difference, and rein yourself in if you begin to feel out of control.
On that note… Ask for help. If your perfectionism is driving you to harm yourself (and yes, depriving yourself of sleep counts as harming yourself), talk to your parents or guidance counselor. Part of growth is learning to do things yourself, but another part is learning when to ask for help. In this case, asking for help is a step toward maturity and sound mental health.