From Burnout To Balance
People ask me a lot how I balance everything I do – and if you don’t know me, I do a lot. From getting involved in drama to music, dance, sports, and opportunities on and off campus alongside my course, PPE (which is a lot too!). And honestly, I don’t really know how to answer that. Because I don’t think I do.
University has so much to offer and it’s so easy to get lost in it all and neglect some other areas, like your academics. And burnout is a very very real thing. That’s why I’m still learning how to take care of myself. To take one day at a time. To be okay with not being productive, at the same time as not getting complacent within unproductiveness. To allow myself a break, but also not to let an endless cycle of perennial paralysis persist. And it starts from the little things, little habits that build into bigger behavioural traits that create and sustain that balance. Here a just a few things that may help to develop that:
Know Your Limits
Hit that burnout? We’ve all been there. It’s all well and good to recognise that, but it’s even better to understand where and how you got there. Did you say yes to one too many things? Did you not plan your assignments properly and instead did them all last minute? Did you spend one too many hours with your friends and frankly just need some time to yourself? That’s all okay. Think back and notice the signs that you were reaching your limits; see how much you took on and mentally draw the line for next time. This is when you’ll know to take a little breather from it all just to recharge. Learn from your past self and put in the steps to plan your assignments better, organise your time better, or do whatever you need to do. You’re nowhere near your best when you’re draining the last bit of energy out of yourself.
Take Occasional Days Off
Instead of waiting until it all gets a bit too much; at regular intervals, take breaks. Whether this is from work, friends, extra-curricular activities – whatever is getting a bit overwhelming. This will prolong, if not avoid entirely, the burnout. Do something (completely unrelated to those things) that you enjoy. This could look like absolutely anything: like taking a nap, or reading a book – maybe watching that show you’ve been putting off – better yet, go for a walk and explore the campus. Appreciate what is around you. Take time to notice things that you hadn’t before in the rush of your busy life. Personally, I haven’t read a book in so long, or even played my instruments. It makes me sad to see them collecting dust in the corner of my room. Take these things back up again and get back in touch with yourself.
People exist in different situations, but if you feel this will be helpful for, and conducive to you: call home. Tell your Mum how your day went, make your siblings jealous about that food you ordered (or made!) the other day, ask your Dad what he did at work today. These little things not only show your family you care and are thinking about them, but it’s also nice to get a taste of that familiar world that exists outside university. Reminding yourself of the you you were before all the current noise – though neither of which is a bad thing. This in a sense is too, balancing the past and present versions of yourself. Once you’ve done this, you may be in a better position to retackle the things you were stuck on, or perhaps just continue on with the buzz that is university life
I can’t say I do some, if any, of these things, but I can say that I want to; I’m trying to. Balance within the busy is a thing that I’m very much striving toward; therefore these three things are the first of many I want to consistently do. I hope you were able to resonate with this or you simply found it a good read, and as we progress into the exam season, I wish you all the best for your remaining assessments!