As college students, exhaustion or “burnout” is a feeling that is all too familiar. Between late nights, early morning Zoom classes, plus juggling work and extracurriculars can all contribute to never feeling rested enough. Sometimes even when we get those precious eight or nine hours of nighttime sleep, it seems as if we are still trudging through the days. Stress from the COVID-19 pandemic only heightens these emotions as well. To fall into a healthy routine and ensure you are at your best, here are three ways to alleviate exhaustion as the college semesters become more tedious and demanding.
No Social Media Before Bed
When we say we’re going to bed, are we truly going to sleep? Probably not. It’s tempting to lay under the warmth of our covers, scrolling through our timelines, engaging with (online) friends, and getting lost within Tik Tok or YouTube videos; it’s difficult to avert our eyes. The use of electronics before bed, in general, interrupts the sleep cycle because we lose extra minutes and even hours we’d take to fall and remain asleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, the blue light from our screens interrupts our circadian rhythms; the natural twenty-four-hour process commands the times we wake up and go to bed. Our screen’s blue light transmits to our brain, causing us to become wired even when our bodies are begging for rest. Setting the alarm on your device and placing it in your desk drawer or on your nightstand away from you, releasing any impulse, is the way to go.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Despite how tired we may feel, the more active we are, the better we’ll feel. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve generally spent more time indoors and behind a computer screen to attend classes and complete our studies. Not only does staring at a screen for hours on end gradually weaken and tire our eyes but the act of sitting triggers sluggishness and demotivation. During study breaks or at the end of the day, going for a simple walk or jog in your neighborhood (a healthy, socially distant activity) not only allows you to stay fit, but it can lessen the feeling of “burnout.” The reason is that your brain is given a rest from its previous task to focus on something more relaxing. So, by the nighttime, your brain is more focused and at ease because of the balance of activities. Fresh air and natural Vitamin D from the sun are your best friends (remember to avoid times when the sun’s rays are the strongest).
Set A Schedule To Avoid Procrastination
Setting a timer before the start of each assignment or study session is essential not only in keeping track of the hours, but it can also allow you to prioritize and deter the lingering enemy that is procrastination. Putting off assignments in exchange for catching up on our favorite Netflix show or movie, or scrolling mindlessly through our phones, only causes an increase in stress because the cramming of assignments occurs. Your stress and exhaustion levels have a heightened chance of becoming more prominent, spiraling into a myriad of other problems. If you want to avoid using your phone as much as possible, write your tasks for each day along with the times in a journal or on a set of sticky notes that are easily visible, only briefly checking the time on your computer screen. Happy planning!