It's a sad reality that burnout is so pervasive among students. A study from the College of Nursing at Ohio State found that it's even more widespread than we thought. The researchers conducted two surveys, one in August 2020 and the other in April 2021. Within that time frame, levels of student burnout skyrocketed from 40% to 71%! To make matters worse, many students reported depression, anxiety, and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
In this article, let's delve into some of the most common reasons for student burnout, signs you may be experiencing burnout, and some do-it-yourself strategies you can use to combat it.
What Causes Burnout?
Many students lead hectic lives. They have tons of homework, impossible-to-please professors, and families who expect them to be perfect all the time. Meanwhile, they're not eating, sleeping, or socializing properly. This is a recipe for disaster. It may seem extreme, but it's a situation that many students find themselves in. Throw in some alcohol and nicotine to "relax," but those are both depressants that only compound the problem.
Options for Recovery
First, it's essential to recognize that student burnout is not a way of life, but an actual problem that requires attention. You need to start making small changes to your daily routine. For example, getting some help from an essay writing service can relieve the pressure to prioritize sleep. Here are a few other healthy coping strategies that can work wonders:
You might think that you don't have time for eating, so how could you possibly have an hour to spare for the gym? But that's not necessarily the case. A simple stretch in the morning, 30 minutes of yoga in the evening, or a stroll around campus doesn't require a significant time commitment. These activities will improve your mental health and make you feel more grounded. Meditating and regulating your breathing will help you manage your emotions and feel less trapped. Additionally, when you exercise regularly, your body produces more energy to accommodate your new routine, and you also get the benefit of endorphins. A win-win situation!
Insufficient sleep is harmful to your mental and physical health. Students are notorious for staying up too late, believing that they're young and can sleep for only four to six hours each day. However, maintaining that kind of schedule is unsustainable. It all begins with proper planning. Once you have a good schedule in place, you can more easily determine what's taking up your time and where you can make improvements. Start by writing down all your tasks. Dedicate your day to it and write down everything you did and how long it took. It might seem tedious, but it's just one day. Look at the results and see which areas are the most wasteful of your time and where you can add a 30-minute exercise session. Living according to that schedule will result in better days. Remember, however, to account for the unexpected and always give yourself plenty of time to rest.
Travel during the semester may be impractical for most students. But, if you save some money, you can go somewhere during winter or spring break. Traveling can help you reboot, change your perspective on things, and meet new people. You can also participate in group tours or try sports retreats, such as yoga or hiking. Focusing on your body, immersing yourself in completely new surroundings, and all that with people you've never met before might be stressful, but it can also be a liberating experience. You'll meet people you wouldn't have met otherwise all while paying attention to your physical and emotional health.
Many students neglect the fact that they can't survive on instant noodles. They claim they can't cook or don't have enough time for it. However, many people are afraid of wasting food or failing. Start with simple recipes that don't require any actual cooking. You make a salad that's healthy and nutritious and will keep you satisfied. Remember to add some protein to it. You can also buy cooked chicken or beans to turn a bunch of veggies into a nutrient-rich meal.
When you're ready to explore more, start by adding whole grains, lean meats, fish, and vegetables to your menu. According to WHO, a perfect plate looks like this:
- ½ is reserved for non-starchy vegetables
- ¼ is designated for protein
- ¼ is carbohydrates, such as pasta or rice
This approach isn't difficult to follow, but once you master it, you'll notice how much better you feel. You'll have more energy to focus on exercise, your skin might clear up, and you'll experience an easier time falling asleep.
While following our advice may not magically cure episodes of depression and student burnout, if you don't have these problems, our recommendations can help you avoid them. Another thing to remember is that you can't handle it all on your own. If you're struggling with your mental health, it's best to seek professional assistance right away. See your school's counselor or a private therapist. It may take only a few sessions to help you improve your life.
Having a workout buddy can help you stay motivated, inspire each other, and see more progress. You can do bodyweight training together in a park on campus, or simply go for walks or hikes. Schedule your sessions so you don't get sidetracked by homework and always have a healthy meal afterward. You'll sleep like a baby after a day like that. It's all interconnected!