Avoiding Term 1 Burnout
In all the years I have been at Warwick, I have always found term 1 to be quite intense. Granted, it isn’t as stressful as Term 3 when we sit exams, but it tends to be busy and jam-packed with assignments, deadlines and events. For first years it can be a particular challenge; juggling a degree with beginning to live independently, making new friends and socialising is tough! Without a doubt, out of the 9 full terms I have had at Warwick, my very first one was the hardest. Even if you are not a first year, you are still getting back into the swing of things after the summer break. And for final years, we have the additional commitment of applying for jobs or PhDs on top of everything else.
Term 1 is a big jumble of events and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Becoming overwhelmed and burnt out is a rubbish feeling. You feel tired and perhaps grumpy, it affects your mental health and wellbeing, you may feel guilty about taking breaks, feel like there isn’t enough time to do everything you need to do and your academic performance may start to be affected as well. In this post, I am going to share with you some of my tips to avoid burn out to help you make sure you are feeling happy and healthy throughout term 1 and into the new year!
When you are so deep in a problem, it can hard to troubleshoot and solve it objectively. When I feel lost in a task or don’t know how to tick off all my jobs on my to-do list, I find it helpful to take a break and step away from the problem. Coming back later, or even the next day, helps me see the issue in a new light. Getting some distance helps me determine how best to tackle the problem, and highlights how it wasn’t as bad as I previously thought.
Go for a walk
Getting some fresh air when you’re getting some distance from a problem is incredibly refreshing. There’s something about going for a walk, whether that’s a quick power walk around central campus or a longer stroll through Jephson Gardens in Leamington, that puts me in a more positive mind state and better prepared to accomplish my tasks.
Sweat it out
If you need something a bit more cathartic than a walk, why not go for a run or do a fitness class instead? My personal favourite at the moment is doing a yoga class at the sports centre. Not only does this give my body a good workout, I feel much more zen afterwards! The sports centre has a jam-packed fitness class schedule, from Zumba to Pilates, and you can check out the website here.
Stroke some dogs
There are few things more therapeutic than petting some dogs. Look out for the regular PAT therapy dogs when they visit the library. If you go, give the dogs a stroke from me please!
Enjoy a ritual
For me, making a proper meal from scratch or a perfect cup of tea feels like a ritual. Spending time on making something you really love (e.g. a tray of brownies, a homemade curry, a pot of tea, cheese on toast) lets your mind relax and focus on a new task. As well as being calming, you end up with something yummy at the end – win win!
Chat with loved ones
Talking with your friends and family can help to put your problems into perspective. Course mates may be feeling similarly overwhelmed, so don’t feel like you are the only one feeling that way! Having a little moan with each other can help, but try and avoid focussing on the negatives. Instead you could chat about other parts of your life, or plan a trip for the near future to look forward too.
Get some zzz
Finally, make sure you are sleeping properly. There have been so many days where my to-do list feels insurmountable yet doesn’t look as daunting after a solids night sleep. Avoiding screens before bed and drinking a caffeine free hot drink (mint tea is my favourite) helps to make you sleepier and ready to drift off.
I hope that this post will be useful if you ever feel burnt out. However, if those feelings are prolonged or really intense, it may be a good idea to seek help; from your resident tutor, personal tutor, wellbeing services, SU Advice Centre and health centre.
Do you have any other advice to avoid burnt out? Let me know in the comments!