Burnted out? Tips to stop student burnout

by Shellique Thursday July 22nd 2021

Burnted out? Tips to stop student burnout-student-burn-out-tips

Healthy Lifestyle Tips for students working from home

Many students have experienced burnout due to a lack of support and restrictions imposed during the lockdown. Many other reasons contribute to student burnout, one of which is being forced to study from home.

Regulating lifestyle and routine has not been part of most students' skill sets. One major problem is that many students have no clue how long to study before taking a break.

Student BURN OUT - What is it?

Student burnout can come in many forms for example,

  • when you feel tired mentally and physically,
  • you feel like you are not making enough progress in your studies,
  • when you feel overwhelmed,
  • you lack sympathy for others,
  • your stress level has risen beyond what is healthy.

STRATEGIES

Taking breaks

  1. Set a time of 15 minutes after every 45 minutes of study for a break. Set your alarm, timer etc., or you could use time-tracking software on your computer.
  2. Go outside into your garden, into the sun, unless the weather is hot. It will make you feel refreshed, giving your eyes a much-needed break from the computer. It also increases your vitamin D level, which your body needs to stay healthy and keep you feeling happy.
  3. Do NOT go on your cell phone during these breaks! It defeats the purpose of giving your body and mind a break. You could play with your pet, listen to music, do some house chores, catch up with friends, etc.
  4. Staying all day indoors can put you in a bad mood. Weight gain comes easy when you stay indoors for too long without exercise, especially if you enjoy snacking between meals. You are also tempted to snack, which will make you gain weight.

Mealtimes

Take 1-hour breaks during breakfast and lunch. Use this time to exercise. Swimming, weights, push-ups, skipping, crunches, lunges, or any other exercise is an essential contribution to an effective and healthy work-study programme from home.

SUGAR AND CAFFEINE

Stress drives some students to crave caffeine and sugar such as coffee, sweets, chocolates, etc., which they think will help keep them awake and increase their concentration.

Experts report that too much caffeine and sugar can result in:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Digestive issues
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle twitching

Excess sugar can cause restlessness, poor concentration and mood swings, amongst other things.

Too much stress, sugar and caffeine, and not enough relaxation over a long time can damage your adrenal glands and, in turn, can result in many scary symptoms, ultimately causing an inability to work and even death.

Healthier alternatives to caffeine and sugar

There are healthier alternatives to caffeine and sugar. Chinese green tea, taurine pills, vitamin B drops, and Berocca pills are better for concentration and energy. To stop cravings for chocolate, sugar, and ordinary sweets, go for stevia, fructose, honey, dates, carob chunks, sugar-free sweets/gum, peppermint tea, and kombucha (a fermented drink that also helps with mood stability and has a host of other benefits).

Exercise will increase your energy levels. It will give a better boost than caffeine! Do a plank or some star jumps instead of a coffee.

CONCENTRATION AND MOTIVATION

Most students realise that good concentration and motivation lead to good academic performance.

Work in a quiet place, so you are not distracted. For example, do not work near the television if other people in your house use it. Don't work in a place that is usually noisy.

Play music that helps you focus while you work. It will give you that extra motivation to finish what needs to be done. Each person will have different preferences for what music helps them focus.

Buy anti-blue light glasses so you can sit at the computer for longer without your eyes feeling weary or strained.

Exercise your eyes. Relieve eye strain and avoid the longer-term effects like 'near point stress ' lowering eyesight at short distances with some simple eye exercises. After years of staring at a computer, your eyes will not focus at that distance and require glasses. A simple technic is the 10-10-10 rule crucial because so many everyday activities involve near point stress on your eyes. They can also cause more severe fatigue like digital eye strain.

The 10-10-10 rule is simple and effective. Every 10 minutes, look at something 10 feet away for at least 10 seconds.

You can incorporate it into your breaks. All you need to do is look up from your book or computer and focus on anything that is at least 10 feet away from you for 10 seconds.

Eat good sources of protein at breakfast for better concentration and more physical strength, for example, eggs, meat, fish etc. Eat complex carbohydrates and low glycaemic index (GI) foods for a healthier lifestyle and more extended concentration.

Foods to eat on the low GI diet

There are plenty of nutritious foods you can build your diet around, including the following low GI foods:

  • Bread: whole grain, multigrain, rye, sourdough
  • Breakfast cereals: steel-cut oats, bran flakes
  • Fruit: apples, strawberries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears, kiwi, tomatoes, and more
  • Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, and more
  • Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes with orange flesh, corn, yams, winter squash
  • Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, baked beans, butter beans, kidney beans, and more
  • Pasta and noodles: pasta, soba noodles, vermicelli noodles, rice noodles
  • Rice: basmati, Doongara, long grain, brown
  • Grains: quinoa, barley, pearl couscous, buckwheat, freekeh, semolina
  • Dairy and dairy replacements: milk, cheese, yogurt, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk

SLEEP

A lack of sleep can negatively affect your concentration, memory (for example, for exams), your brain's functioning, academic performance, your health, etc.

Try doing a sleep routine before you go to bed. For example,

  • Do not have any caffeine 8 hours before bedtime.
  • Don't do exercise 4 hours before bedtime.
  • Please don't use your phone or computer two hours before bedtime because of their blue light stimulating your brain.
  • Do something relaxing, like mediation, reading a book or mild house chores.

It is best to go to bed and wake up at the same time on the weekend as you do during the week.

If you missed out on a lot of sleep during the week, then you can try to catch up on the weekend. But sleeping in later on Saturdays and Sundays will make it very hard for you to wake up earlier on Monday morning.

Things that help sleep:

  • Try taking thiamine (a herbal supplement), magnesium, and/or anti-anxiety natural herbs like valerian an hour before going to bed.
  • When in bed, listen to podcasts or relaxing music to keep your mind focused on positive things before you fall asleep.
  • Try Melantoine, either herbal or prescription.
  • You could ask your doctor for Dopaquel, which is safer than sleeping pills, even in high doses.

The following tips are provided by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) to help students learn how to get enough sleep:

  • Students should go to bed early enough to have the opportunity for a full night of sleep. Adults require about seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
  • Don't study, read, watch TV or talk on the phone in bed. Only use your bed for sleep.
  • If you take a nap, then keep it brief. Nap for less than an hour and before 3 p.m.
  • Dim the lights in the evening, and at night, so your body knows it will soon be time to sleep. Let in the sunlight in the morning to boost your alertness.
  • Take some time to "wind down" before going to bed and relax quietly for 30 minutes.
  • Never eat a large meal right before bedtime. Enjoy a healthy snack or light dessert, so you don't go to bed hungry.
  • Those who believe they have a sleep disorder should consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.

You will feel healthy and strong enough, mentally and physically, to handle the demands of your studies. Also, remember you will need strength to party once you finish your year-end exams!

Taking care of yourself now can improve your academic results and avoid long-term problems.