Avoiding first term burnout
As a fresher, it is easy to immerse yourself completely into the social side of the university, and completely ignore your studies. Equally, with the pressure of wanting to do well, it is easy to let yourself burn out, especially within the first term.
Now; just to add I am a Politics student, not a doctor so if you feel like you need to see a medical expert, you probably do – and I would strongly recommend you seek medical expertise.
Burn out is basically a feeling of exhaustion as a result of feeling overwhelmed, which at university, may be due to academic stress. Common symptoms to look out for may be chronic fatigue, feeling angry, headaches, weight loss or gain, sleeplessness and feeling helpless.*
*Note that if you experience these symptoms it may be due to something else and not burn out, so you should see your GP anyway just to be sure.
At Monash, during the welcome meeting they taught us about the “Three R approach” to burnout:
Recognise the signs of burnout and be aware that it is easy to become so involved in our work that we fail to consider the impact this is having on ourselves, and maybe even others too.
Reverse the damage by acknowledging what you are facing and accepting that you are experiencing burnout, by seeking support and using stress management strategies.
Resilience take care of your physical and mental health by leading how to cope with stress in a positive manner.
These steps will help you understand the control you have over yourself – burnout can happen to anybody, and anybody can help themselves through stress management.
Some things you can do to help manage your time and stress are:
– Staying organised – As tempting as it is, don’t leave your work till the night before it is due, prepare early and you will feel much more on track and in control of your work
– Be realistic – It is okay if you don’t attend all four society events in one day. It is okay if you give yourself a break between your classes instead of having all your lectures and seminars back to back in one day. It is okay to give yourself a few hours of just solid Netflix binge-watching. It is okay if you tell your flatmates you don’t really feel like socialising for a few hours.
– Exercise – You will probably hear this in any stress management related article or talk you attend. Whether that be intensely or casually, exercise will help you to maintain your physical health and you will feel good about yourself too. Something like Yoga or meditation may also be worth exploring!
Enjoy your first year – really, it is all about finding a balance that works best for you.
Shanita 🙂 xo