How to recognise and combat burnout

As the end of term draws nearer, it’s likely that the pressure is mounting to perform well in any end of term exams or assignments. Feeling like you never get a break or that you’re running out of steam? You could be experiencing burnout. Here’s how to recognise the signs of working too damn hard. 

1. You have no social life 

While this may sound brutal, if you really aren’t getting out much, it’s possible you’re burnt out. I’m not saying that people who don’t go out five times a week are working too hard, but if you think your work/life balance may be slightly skewed, it’s worth re-evaluating things. 

2. You’re overly concerned with maximising your time 

If you find yourself stressing about the time you’re wasting while eating or sleeping, it’s possible you’re burnt out. I often find myself worrying about things such as the time it takes for my laptop to start up or the time it takes for me to walk to uni – but I’ve realised that this is so unhealthy. Forgive yourself for being human and accept that no one can work at 100% efficiency. 

3. You turn down plans because of work 

Okay, if you have an assignment due in a few days, maybe a massive night out isn’t the best idea. But if you turn down a lunch date or a single pint at the pub because you feel the need to do extra reading, again, maybe re-evaluate your work/life balance. 

4. You’re almost too exhausted to concentrate…

 …but then compensate by staying up late and waking up early and working more. While it doesn’t take a genius to work out this isn’t the best way to work, I feel we’ve all been guilty of acting like this. Once you get to the point where it’s hard to concentrate because of your lack of sleep, that’s the definition of being burnt out and you should start to consider cutting back on working so hard.

How to combat burnout

Try out some of these things to improve your mental health – the main thing is to not be so hard on yourself, you’re only human!

1. Keep work and home separate 

If you’re working all day at the library, and then come home and do more work in your room, you will have nowhere that you associate with downtime. If this means you end up having long library days, so be it. The important thing is that work stays at uni, but home is somewhere you can relax. 

2. Do one fun thing a week 

What this is can be totally up to you. Some people might want to have a big night out to let off steam, others may want to take themselves out for breakfast. Just try to do one thing a week that you’ll really enjoy that has nothing to do with work to keep that even work/life balance. 

3. Don’t work evenings or mornings 

Give yourself a lie-in or an early night. While there are only 24 hours in a day, you don’t need to use all of them for work purposes. Allow yourself a few hours off in the mornings and evenings and do something that will make you feel relaxed

4. Go for walks 

Never underestimate the power of the great outdoors. While not everyone lives in a rural environment, it can still be great fun and refreshing to walk around your city. The fresh air will do you wonders.

Serena Smith

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