10 lesser-known tips to avoid burn out at school/uni

Burning out can be a common student experience, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few tips to help you make that process easier, but remember, these study tips are mostly long-term, so keep consistent to see results!

a year ago   •   5 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Radu Florin / Unsplash

Introduction

How often have you heard that study burnout at school or university is inevitable? That you all will at some point conclude that I have reached the height of mental and physical exhaustion and now I quit?

I can assure you that this only happens to those that believe it will happen to them. If we can take a step back, manage our workload, consult with family members, and look at it from a broader perspective, we can certainly avoid this “burnout”.

High school can be a lot of work, so why not get some help? Explore our top High School tutors here.

Here are 10 of my favourite lesser know tips:

Tips

Break down large tasks into smaller goals

Coming across a very large assignment with several parts and only a limited time to complete can be a daunting prospect for many that create anxiety.

That’s why it is important to break these big tasks into smaller, more achievable goals. It will keep you on task, and more engaged and provide great satisfaction, which will be a certain motivation booster for you to complete the rest of it.

Have regular breaks

It can be easy to burn yourself while studying - spending hours working on an assignment and project without respite.

Taking regular breaks of 10-20 mins can help prevent study fatigue and keep you focused.  These breaks allow you to refresh your mind, as well as help you maintain your attention and regain your motivation. But avoid going on your device during these breaks, maybe walk around the house, chat with a family member or take a power nap.

Physical exercise and a healthy diet

As strange as it may sound to many, studies have confirmed there is a connection between being physically healthy and delivering strong academic success.

By doing any sort of exercise - be it running, walking, pushups, squats, or anything that gets your heart rate pumping - you can improve your memory and increase your cognitive performance, along with reducing the physical symptoms that come with stressful situations.

Eating healthy foods such as more veggies, meat and less junk food improves your concentration and promotes higher energy levels, allowing you to study less and get more out of it!

Phones away when studying

You may not like this one, but phones are a big no to having the highest quality studies. How many times when you’re in the middle of doing a question, your phone buzzes, you check it and you end up on it for another 30 mins - leaving the question feeling sad 😥 .

Next time you study, ensure your phone is on silent and in a different room. Probably in the room of one of your family members so you are least likely to touch it. This way, every minute you study you are getting double the benefit you were previously getting.

Result = is academic success

Learn to say “no”

“No” is the most important two-letter word because it is crucial for creating healthy boundaries. One of the most common signs of study burnout is when you find yourself trying to “do it all” and falling short. You can minimise this stress by shifting your priorities or just being realistic about how much time you have in a day.

Especially for university students, when you are studying, working and have family commitments, you need to be able to evaluate your priorities and not commit to everything people ask you to do. Narrow it down to what you’re able to do and do well.

Get enough sleep

The common knee-jerk reaction to being overwhelmed with plenty of work is to get ahead of it, push through and work harder - meaning late-night grinds and limited sleep.

It may seem counterintuitive, but getting sufficient sleep and rest can protect you from burnout during exam periods with never-ending-to-do lists. This is because, with good sleep habits, we boost our energy levels and improve our mental well-being, allowing ourselves to feel pumped and fresh to tackle the challenges that lay ahead.

Have a journal

One of the common causes of burnout is being caught up in our past failures which increases our self-doubt and anxiety about the future.

Keeping a journal is one of the best tools to avoid this by having a clearer mind and a happier life. Simply writing down your thoughts, feelings and insights every single day, helps you to escape the negativity or mental blockade that was preventing you from achieving optimal performance.

Once we can move past the feelings of failure from a previous exam and allow ourselves grace, we’re fully present in the preparation for our next exam and able to give our 100% effort and commitment to doing well.

Meditation

To help us stay in the present moment and have control over excessive negative thoughts, mediation is the perfect tool. Taking even 5-10 mins of your time daily to focus on the body and breath helps us to effectively tune out the unhelpful distractions of our life (ie. phones for many) and complete the tasks in front of us with a more focused and determined mindset.

Give it a try and you will be surprised by the results!

Seek help when stressed

It is OK to feel stressed. And most people forget that it is OK to ask for help when we are stressed to help us overcome burnout.

Everyone has great supportive relationships, whether it be your mum, dad, closest friend, teacher, co-workers or any other family members.

Talking out your issues is sometimes the best way to not only release the pent-up feelings but also as they know you the best, you can receive some really helpful advice on how to work through your schedule and study plan for the best outcome.

Have fun with mates when you can

Leaving the best one for last. You guys must be waiting to hear this one…

It is important to have fun with your friends on a night out.

Being surrounded by friends who support and care for us can help us to smile more when life’s toughest challenges are thrown at us. This makes us develop a more positive attitude, helping us avoid the extreme pressures and stresses of burnout.

FAQs

What if I can’t adopt all the tips?

These tips are only ideas for how students can avoid burnout with their studies. It is highly recommended to adopt as many of these to see faster and better results but choosing the combination is up to the personal preferences of the individual student.

What if I am already feeling study burnout, will these tips help?

Yes, most definitely. For anyone who is already feeling burnout from their studies, these tips suggested are ideal to help you overcome and manage this burnout most effectively.

How long does it take to see the results from taking on board these tips?

These study burnout tips are mostly long-term based, You cannot expect to never experience any signs of burnout by just doing these for one week or even a month. It needs to be a constant part of your life to experience the greatest benefit from them.


Written by KIS Academics Tutor for HSC Mathematics, Hemish Ahuja. Hemish is pursuing a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies with Professional Practice at Macquarie University. You can view Hemish’s profile here and request him as a tutor.

Spread the word

Keep reading