The Midterm Meltdown: How to Avoid Burnout

It's about that time again. You know. That pivotal point in the semester when everything starts piling up and you feel, well...a little burnt out. 

Despite our best intentions, it happens. Even the best students can feel a little overwhelmed during midterms.

In the middle of the semester, it's important not to lose your head. Easier said than done, but stress can have very real effects on your mental and physical health. For example, if you aren't managing your stress properly, you might start to feel more run down than usual, which means that you may become even more susceptible to illness (hello flu season!) and miss out on an important lecture if you're too sick to go to class. If you aren't getting enough sleep, your brain won't be able to properly process all of that information during those late-night study sessions. If you aren't getting enough sleep, you're more likely to be irritable and angry as well. Not a good way to be. 

So, what to do? First of all, you've got to take care of yourself. As much as you may want to spend every moment of the day cramming for the BIG exam, you have to take care of yourself. That means taking care of your basic human needs, making sure you're drinking enough water, getting enough to eat, maintaining a semi-regular sleeping schedule...you have GOT to be your own number one priority. I know it can be hard sometimes, especially with all the extra pressure of midterms looming over your head, but if you aren't taking care of yourself then you aren't going to be at your best. And if you aren't at your best, you can bet that when it's time to take that exam you've been spending so much time worrying about, your performance won't be the best either. 

The second most important thing you can do is to manage your stress. This is something every single person on this earth struggles with. Find your zen. Burn off some energy at the gym. Write in a journal. Cuddle with a pet. Meditate. Just make sure that you are doing something to keep the stress from building up. You should also try to take some time every day to step away from schoolwork and do something for yourself. Whether it's going for a long walk, taking a long bath or eating your favorite food, do something that has nothing to do with schoolwork and something that you really enjoy. When you start studying again, make sure you take some breaks, every thirty minutes or so. That way your brain can take a "break" and you'll be able to sit back down and be more productive. 

Remember: no one is perfect and neither are you. Give yourself a break sometimes. College is hard. Give yourself some credit for getting this far. Whether you're a first-semester sophomore or you're just trying to graduate, you are in a place