Opinion | Tips to avoid burnout

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Cameron Krasucki

A student in Peter Abbamonte’s class responds to a question on Monday. Columnist Marykate gives tips on how to avoid burnout this semester.

By Marykate Green, Columnist

With the passing of midterms, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. After midterms, it seems that some professors start sprinting towards the end. More homework and reminders that you’re going to need to remember the information for the final exam. If you’re anything like me, you need to remember these important tips to avoid a mid-semester breakdown. 

The most important thing to make sure you do to help with this feeling is to take lots of breaks. You don’t want to push your brain and over-exert your focus. If you do that, your work and mental state will suffer. 

You can take regular small breaks, such as the Pomodoro method: 25 minutes of work followed by five minute breaks and repeat; every four of these you take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. 

People have testified that it greatly improves their focus and productivity. I recently tried this method and was pleasantly surprised to find that it made me feel so much less exhausted and so much more accomplished at the end of each day. I highly recommend trying this out.

To best start off your day and get into productive mode, sleep is a great tool. As Lawrence Epstein, MD, medical director of Sleep Health Centers and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School states, “after two weeks of sleeping six hours or less a night, students feel as bad and perform as poorly as someone who has gone without sleep for 48 hours.” 

I can’t believe sacrificing two hours of sleep for two more hours to study during the week would actually be as detrimental as pulling two all-nighters before an exam. Next time, I’ll definitely be making sure to get my eight hours every night during exam week!

One thing I highly recommend, not just during midterm or final exam weeks, but all of the time, is to remember to drink water. I know we all forget and are suddenly wondering why we have a headache at 6 p.m. before we remember that the only thing we had to drink that day was iced coffee or pop. 

Honestly, I used to frequently find myself going three days without water and I knew I needed to change that. What finally helped me was to set one alarm for 11 a.m. and one for 4 p.m. reminding me to drink water. I also purchased a half gallon water bottle from Amazon that had time markers of how much water I should have drank by that time. 

It’s super helpful because it helps me realize how little I drink and how much more I should be drinking. Now that I drink water regularly, my headaches have definitely decreased and my skin is clearer, which is a bonus.

An uncommon tip I would suggest is to make time to socialize with your family or friends. Spending too much time on the computer and alone in your room can negatively affect your mood and consequently, your grades. 

Going out for lunch with your friends or watching a movie with your parents can give you a much-needed break from staring at a screen and get you outside for some fresh air. 

Last but certainly not least, small acts of self care can help even the busiest of students. Things like doing face masks before bed, painting your nails, eating that doughnut you’ve been wanting, watching your favorite comfort movie, putting on your favorite music, baking sweets and watching something funny to get you laughing. 

These options are nice and inexpensive, perfect for a college student that just needs something small to brighten up their day. My personal favorite thing to do is put on “Good Boy” and bake some homemade sugar cookies. Soon enough I feel a little less burnt out and so will you.

Marykate is a junior in Media. 

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