University is hard work. You are working towards a career you always aspired for. It requires long hours of reading, late hours writing essays and early morning lectures. Never mind the added hours for those of us in the healthcare sector. Placement hours, skills sessions, organising paperwork and the list goes on and on. Sometimes it feels as though there just isn’t enough hours within the day to get all done.
But what about you? When was the last time you sat and watched your favourite show? When was the last time you took some time to cook a nice meal for yourself? When was the last time you read a chapter from your favourite book? When was the last time you made time for you?
It becomes second nature for us uni students to not take care of ourselves. And I know what your mind set is “but this work is due next week” or “but I’ll fall behind, if I don’t get this done.” The reality is the longer you push yourself to the edge, the later the nights get, it leads to the ultimate sabotage, burn out.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to avoid burn out.
Organise your week
It becomes easy to get caught up in the future but what about the present? It helped me to sit down on a Sunday evening and plan my week.
What uni work needs doing? What shifts am I working? What am I cooking for dinner? And when can I fit in time for me?
I recommend getting a small weekly white board to jot all on to. This will help you with time management and less time scratching your head thinking what needs doing.
Clear your headspace
When there is so much going on at once it might help to take some time away from it all. This can be done through going on a simple walk, going for a coffee, going to the gym, or doing a hobby you love.
Clearing your headspace avoids your mind going foggy and allows for more proactive learning. Headspace also improves mood by improving focus and productivity.
Make time for friends and family
When drowned with the pressures of workload, it can be hard to find time for those around you. Having a good support network is essential for reaching your academic goals and succeeding in the long run.
It can be hard to find time for this, so try to see the ones you love, even if it is only for a coffee in-between study. It’s nice to see a familiar face and talk about stresses you’re having; work you’re doing or even anything but your area of study.
Set a wake and sleep time
When you have such a massive workload, it can be hard to know when to turn off and tune out. We all need sleep to function. By staying up late and sleeping in for longer, the effort put into your work naturally becomes less and less due to fatigue.
This can be resolved by having a set time to begin winding down. No matter what work still must be done, try to stick to this time. As well as that have a set time to wake at. Try wake early to make the most of the day and to have the evening time to yourself, to do something you enjoy.
Burn out is an easy trap to fall into but is so easy to avoid. Caring for yourself should always be your top priority. Having a good foundation with a healthy sleep pattern, good nutrition and hydration and a clear mind set is the minimum requirement for productive work.
Take care of you for you.