How to beat stress before you burn out

April 26, 2016
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Stress is an inevitable part of your time at uni -- everyone goes through it and everyone knows how much it sucks. What sucks more is burnout. Burnout is that anxiety attack-level of stress that will totally ruin you. You won't feel like studying, going out, working or doing anything productive -- you'll just be tired.

Here are some handy hints to get you out of the stress trap before you become the fourth law of motion: a student will remain in bed unless acted upon by a large enough panic.

Recognise the signs of burnout

The symptoms of burnout are all stress-induced, so work out what's stressing you and then can combat it. The most common problems that can get you to this peak stress stage are assignment overload, money and family issues, and a lack of motivation -- whether it be struggling to get out of bed in the morning or not feeling your course anymore. Once you've identified the problem areas, you can address them directly with the following tips.

Manage your time

If you're really feeling under the pump with your coursework, part-time job or sporting commitments, then it's time to have a hard look at what you really need to be spending your time on. This doesn't mean ditching your team or your job; it’s more along the lines of picking less units per semester or dropping a few training sessions.

If you're feeling unorganised, then this will build up on your stress response. It'll definitely tip the scales if an unexpected event arises, and you could slip into burnout territory. Even blocking out your day into specific sections -- even though it's near the epitome of nerdy -- is a great way of looking at where your time goes and where you could better allocate it.

Take breaks – actual, proper breaks

Often uni students will take breaks from their study or writing to browse through Facebook, Insta, or YouTube watching Johnny Depp/Amber Heard apology video parodies. This isn't taking a break. You need to spend proper time away from your work to destress, and organise times or events where you are completely separated from the books. That's having a break.

Sleep is great, so get some

Having a good rest is absolutely essential for keeping stress levels down. The hours of sleep you get are extremely important, so to help you calculate how much you should sleep you need and when, use sleepyti.me. This handy tool will figure out what time you should fall sleep and wake up so you can feel refreshed and destressed.

You don't have to walk a lonely road

The majority of universities offer on-site counsellors free of charge, and they can offer you the best case-specific advice on how to reduce your anxiety levels. Talking to your unit coordinators can also be helpful, as they will be able to offer you assistance in stressful areas and even grant extensions dependent on your circumstances. Even just chatting to your friends or family can be great, as getting your workload off your chest can practically show you what you need to do to overcome this stressful period.

Treat. Yo'. Self.

You know what? You've earned a bit of me-time, whether it means shopping therapy, gaming or a Beverly Hills vacay. Get to it. 

Harrison Johnstone

A country kid at heart with city slicking aspirations in his head, Harrison is an aspiring journalist, video editor and human being. 

Image: Vidrio, Flickr Creative Commons license

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