You’re Toast: 5 Tips to Avoid Burnout During the Last Stretch

April 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm 7 comments

It’s been over a week since my last run. Instead, I’ve cooped myself up in my room, which is starting to look more like a cave with each passing day.

As I sat here at my desk gazing fondly at the sunshine outside, I had a flashback to junior high track practice when I first started running distance. During practice, I would always run with the sprinters, trying to keep up with them during their 200 meter workout while I still had another lap to go (yeah, I’m kind of competitive). My coach would look at me and laugh, exclaiming “You’re toast!” And he was right, I was completely worn out. Although I learned to pace myself throughout years of running high school and collegiate track, I’ve kept this sixth-grade mentality in other aspects of my life. Like during these last few weeks before I graduate.

But how do you avoid burnout when you are going to classes, working on homework, finishing up your senior portfolio, working part-time, involved with student organizations and looking for a job (with the potential of possibly relocating)?

Get physical
As I mentioned before, I run to relieve stress and refocus my energy. It’s also convenient because you can just put on your shoes and hit the pavement for 30 mins. Though running is my activity of choice, there are ways you can get physical such as biking, rollerblading or even going for a quiet walk.

Take 5
…or 15. It’s easy to forget to schedule breaks when you’re in the zone. Even though you’re on a roll, you’re going to crash faster if you try to do it all at once. Pick up a magazine or book, take a shower, go play a video game, stalk your friends on facebook, or anything that takes your mind off what you’re doing for at least five minutes. You’ll feel refreshed and be better off in the longrun.

Bring on the Brain Food
A lot of my friends say they forget to eat when they get busy (not the case for me, I eat even MORE when I’m stressed, and junk food at that). However, you need to eat to keep your brain in check. There are certain foods that may enhance your productivity and brain power.

Begin the Countdown
Mark your calendar to countdown the days you have left until graduation. This will be helpful for all of you “I work best under pressure” types (I’m guilty) because you give yourself a deadline (or as I like to refer to as D-Day) to watch creeping closer and closer. It also works for those “Plan everything 3 weeks in advance” types because, well, you sorta are. The bottom line is that time management is critical when you’re working hard. It also helps put the time into perspective so you can plan accordingly in order to avoid burnout.

Let it out
Scream, cry, shout. Find a punching bag (or a pillow) or find some old papers to rip to shreds. The point I’m getting to here is that burnout can be frustrating. It’s best to let it out before it gets the best of you. If you’re more of the laid back type, you may want to sing or draw if raging out isn’t your bag.

What are some ways you avoid burnout when you are overwhelmed by school/work/life?


Entry filed under: Beyond the Campus Bubble.

Are You Ready to ROCK (Your Interview)? Little Fish in the Big Apple

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. prcog  |  April 19, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Some great tips here. For me, surprise surprise, it’s definitely music (loudly) away from the MacBo.., erm – source of stress. Even a quick roll or stroll around the block with your thoughts away from the problem at hand can provide the necessary Distraction.

    By my math only a few more weeks until all y’all graduate and start coming out of the wordwork for the proper schooling to begin. πŸ™‚

  • 2. stephmajercik  |  April 19, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Great ideas in here Mikinzie!

    I like to take a few minutes, make myself a cup of tea and sit and relax or like you mentioned, go for a walk, or my favorite a quick trip to the grocery store…even if I don’t need anything. Some little break that will take my mind off of everything I have to do!

  • 3. christamarzan  |  April 19, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Great list, Mikinzie! When I was an undergrad, I found that making a list of items to complete and checking them off one by one helped me calm down- even if the list is long- and get things done. For me, it was easier to focus on those things if I saw them in writing. Also, your tip about working out is HUGE in helping relieve stress. It’s amazing how much better you feel after a run!

    Don’t forget these tips after you graduate and get a job, too. I’ve found that some stress at my job now is more intense than when I was in college, and these stress-relievers still come in handy to help me out πŸ™‚

  • 4. Nick  |  April 19, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Very cool link about foods that can help productivity. I’m gonna bookmark it — I could definitely use all the help I can get when it comes to avoiding burnout!

  • 5. sassyclassypr  |  April 19, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Great post, Mikinzie!

    When I’m getting stressed and burnt out, I like to pull myself away from the situation. After hours of studying, nothing helps more than grabbing a cup of coffee, knocking on one of my roommate’s doors and having a quick chat. Leaving the house, even if it’s just for a quick drive, helps as well.

    Thanks again!

    Rebecca Odell

  • 6. jasmollica  |  April 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Music has always been a great stress reliever for me. Rock, jazz, it doesn’t matter. A good tune will set you free and it goes great with the “Let it Out” part of your list. Sing at the top of your lungs!!

    Video games are great to take a break with (geek alert). I find when I pop in one of my baseball or hockey video games on the PS3, it does wonders.

    Most important.. don’t let the last weeks of school get you too ramped up. Enjoy the last days of your collegiate time!

  • 7. katastica  |  April 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I like to “dance it out.” Take five or ten minutes, blast music, look like a total freak and then get back to staring at books.

    And I remember reading in a magazine that you should switch what subjects you’re studying every 20 mins or so to keep your brain from getting bored.


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