You’ve heard your friends say that they burned out. You may be suffering from a burn out. Your final year examinations are looming large and you are stressed out about getting your mind back into your study routine. You can’t seem to do it and stress cumulates. You try taking a break but the fact that you are spending time off work stresses you even further. You realize that you are perpetually stuck in this vicious cycle that will possibly see you through your failure. You know you must kick yourself out of this cycle, but you don’t know how to. It doesn’t really matter which stage of a burn out you are at. Whether you are approaching one, in one, or getting out of one. The same guide applies.
Now, let me teach you how to prevent or manage a burnout.
1. Stop what you are doing
As obstinate as you can be in wanting to go full steam ahead with your (more often than not) last-minute scrambling for the upcoming exams, you have to know that a limit exists. The fact that you are aware of a possible burnout or are in one is a clear signal that you are reaching or have reached your limit. Before you aggravate your fragile situation, be obedient and smart. Stop what you are working on.
Don’t be silly; I’m not asking you to stop everything you are doing. You can have your meals and read your newspapers you know. Just put a stop to all that arithmetic or intensive essay writing, at least for long enough to commit to the following step.
2. Refer back to your plan
Wait, you don’t have a plan? Look, with no end in sight, you don’t know how much you have to cover, you don’t know how much you have covered, and ultimately you don’t know what you are doing. I’m quite sure you know how important it is to have a plan. If you were just lazy, time to slap yourself in your face and make one. A mental plan will not suffice, considering the fact that you probably have a lot to cover. And look what keeping a mental plan has done to you? Nothing but a burn out. Time to pen down a plan. You would rather have a map on hand when you navigate the forest, won’t you? Refer to you plan from time to time to access your progress; free up some grey matter for more important things.
You may already have a written plan. Well, that’s very good! This time, review it to find out what exactly went wrong. You may have over-committed yourself to an unrealistic study plan. Are you cramming 5 topics of Math in a day’s worth of revision? My point is that you have to plan something that is manageable and within your limits. Be flexible with your plan. If you realize that being overly ambitious resulted in your burnout, cut yourself some slack and scale down. If you realize that you can’t seem to give up studying anything, prioritize. Accept the fact that in a short time, it is not possible to accomplish as much as you initially planned to. The truth hurts, but lies are worse, especially when they are for yourself.
3. Find company
It is much easier to ease your burnout when you have company around you. Be it good friends who can click with you or siblings who never fail to cheer you up, they are people you need in time of a burnout. They help you relax. Well of course don’t surround yourself with friends who will stress you out even further. I’m quite sure you know how to pick your company.
4. Head out for an exercise
Rather than being glued to your chair wondering what else you can do after putting your homework aside temporarily, why not hit the gym or the track? Exercise causes our body to release this hormone called endorphins. Endorphins makes you happy. Do I have to remind you that it relieves your burnout? Of course it does!
5. Music Therapy
Plug in your ipod and listen to your favourite tunes when you take your breaks (damn you for tormenting your body if you work on ends without any breaks). It worked very well for me!