The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It’s the spookiest time of the semester again! Midterm or mid-semester burnout is real, and I think that everyone transitioning (or newly transitioned) back to in-person classes doesn’t really help with that.
Whether you’ve taken your midterms already or you’re reading this article instead of cramming for that test tomorrow, you can’t deny that life is a little overwhelming right now, but that’s okay; it’s normal!
As someone who has been through this burnout period multiple times, I can attest to the significance of self-care and allowing yourself to be human.
Here are 9 ways you can beat the burnout period this semester!
1. Have a rotation of study areas
It’s one thing to have a set study schedule, but it’s another thing to actually feel productive and motivated during that session. Something I noticed, especially during quarantine, is that if I study in one space too frequently, I get bored a lot easier. I would rotate where I would study from my desk to the downstairs table and even my backyard. Now that COVID restrictions are easing up, I tend to rotate the different coffee shops I hit throughout the week for study sessions. I use this as an opportunity to support local coffee shops in my area and to get me out of the house for a couple of hours every week.
If you don’t like spending money, or if the coffee shop-vibe isn’t your thing, try looking for spaces at a park where you can sit and study. If my budget is tight that week, I like setting up a blanket on the grass at the park near my house. You could even use finding a new study spot as an excuse to explore your campus for spots that work best for you!
2. Plan a safe (and affordable!) girls night out
One of our writers, Jordan, wrote a great piece about How to Safely Start Socializing Again. To build on this idea, going out and getting that human interaction is something that will definitely help you not feel stuck in your own little bubble and burn out. Humans aren’t made to sit at a desk all day in isolation!
Something I like to do is make it a priority to hang out with my friends at least once a week. Whether it’s just going over to somebody’s house to watch Netflix, or if it’s going out to a nice dinner, going out allows me to reset and take my mind off of school. Some of my favorite GNO’s included paint nights, baking, going to Cheesecake Factory, and having a picnic.
It’s really important to remember that while you did go to college to get a great education, part of the college experience is making friends and connections that will last a lifetime – so make sure you’re making the time and effort to get that experience!
3. Pick someone randomly from your contact list and send them a “hello” message
Random acts of kindness go a long way, and it’s great because the benefits from doing these deeds are mutual. I noticed that when I’m feeling a little sluggish, reaching out to someone that I may have not talked to in a while is the best way to pick me up. The happiness I get from reconnecting with an old friend gives me a great adrenaline boost to help me take on the rest of my day, and it opens the door for more consistent communication with that person!
4. Block out napping or rest periods throughout your day
If you’re anything like me, you probably plan your day pretty extensively. Something I noticed about my planning style lately is that I’m accounting for “me” time. Usually, that means I’m planning for when I can take my naps or when I can binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy for the millionth time.
By blocking out time for yourself, you’re making a conscious effort to value your needs and are practicing sustainable work habits!
5. Be specific and intentional when creating your daily schedule
This point goes along with #4. Being intentional with your plans is more than just writing tasks down on a piece of paper. Make sure to pace yourself and recognize your realistic bandwidth for work that day. The more realistic and authentic your tasks and schedule are, the more likely you’ll be motivated to stick with it! (Also, this is the perfect excuse to go out and buy a cute planner or journal that will motivate you to write these things down!)
6. Journal or do some sort of self-reflection
If you’re not really sure how to “reset” your mind or get your emotions out, a great place to start would be to journal your feelings and daily experiences! By acknowledging your feelings, both positive and negative, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to confront and release what’s going on in your mind. You don’t necessarily have to write a novel on your day-to-day life, but find something that works for you!
7. Set up a reward system
Do you remember being potty trained as a kid, and your parents would make a sticker chart for you? And every time you went to the bathroom on your own, you would get a sticker – and once you completed a row of stickers, you got a prize? Believe it or not, the same positive-reinforcement style system can help motivate you in your adult life too! Give yourself tasks throughout the week, and if you complete them (and complete them on time), you can reward yourself with something at the end of the week. These tasks can include school-related assignments, or you could use this as a way to incorporate keeping your living space clean! My rewards usually consist of a boba trip, a mini shopping spree at Target, or a day at my favorite coffee shop.
8. Enjoy the fresh fall air
In Hawai’i, the air is super fresh all year round, but during fall, it tends to get a little rainy and can be muggy at different times throughout the day. However, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the fresh fall air when it’s clear outside! Take some time out of your week to enjoy the outdoors by either going on a hike at Makapuu or walking through town (with a buddy, of course!).
9. Tend to your inner-child
It’s really easy to get caught up in “adulting,” especially as a college student who is juggling multiple jobs, classes, and friend groups. Something I’ve learned to be very important is to tend to the inner child that wanted to grow up so fast that they forgot to enjoy being a kid. Take some time to draw, color, or watch one of your favorite childhood Tv shows.
These are just a handful of ways you can reset and allow yourself to release some of your student-related stressors. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you’re going to take anything away from this article, take this as a sign to close that laptop and relax – because you deserve it!