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Wellness > Mental Health

5 Ways to Avoid Spring Semester Burnout

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

The spring semester at State College is almost over. As the weather gets warmer and the HUB lawn becomes a popular hangout spot, motivation becomes harder to find the nicer it gets outside.

While it is a shame that the nicest weather in State College always comes around when the semester comes to a close, there are always a few weeks where there is nowhere nicer in the world than Happy Valley.

However, about half a semester is left, and it can get hard to motivate yourself to keep focus when it’s a beautiful day outside or the entire school year of work is starting to get to you.

Here are five tips to help you stay the course on the final lap.

Make a to-do List

This might seem like a no-brainer, especially to those who are more Type-A. But having a physical list of the things that need to be completed that day can help all the projects and work seem more tangible.

Especially when you’re trying to get stuff done early to clear up time for the weekend or squeeze in an assignment in between more compelling activities.

Having a to-do list doesn’t only motivate you to get work done, but also can aid you in knowing how much you need to get done for the day or week. This gives you a good insight into whether or not you can coast and enjoy the nice weather for the rest of the day.

Schedule self-care and social time into your weeks

It’s the final stretch, and for many people, their only goal is to get all their work done on time for the rest of the year. But if you can’t take care of yourself and have fun with these final weeks, burnout will come sooner rather than later.

Schedule time for going to the gym, getting enough sleep and mental self care. Make sure that you do have time to grab food with your friends and spend a night out every now and then.

It’s all about knowing your own social battery and work load. But doing the small things to take care of yourself and have fun will help you avoid burnout.

You have to Get over “FOMO”

This might seem to directly go against the point above.

“FOMO,” also known as the “fear of missing out,” can be a really powerful point that will motivate you to hang out when all other signs tell you that you shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, the warmer the weather the more fun things your friends are going to plan to do. There comes a point where you can decide to go frolick on Old Main lawn but then you’re going to have to get your work done that night, regardless of whatever fun is on the agenda.

If you’re not going to know how to turn down plans, you’re going to be tired and overworked. Then when you have a gloomy day to catch-up on work, you’re not going to want to tackle all the homework you’ve put off.

There’s a balance with everything, but trying to keep yourself motivated sometimes means choosing work over fun to maximize enjoying time without any big projects that you’re procrastinating looming in the near future.

Take time for yourself

This is a big piece of advice for those who relate to the point above.

But when people are constantly inviting you places, and you’re trying to manage your workload, it is likely that what is going to take the backseat is your mental and physical health.

There isn’t anything harder than saying no to an afternoon trip to Cafe 210’s patio on a sunny day, but if you’re still recovering from last night do you need another pitcher? If you spent all day hanging out at the Arboretum, maybe you get your work done and have an early night in and read a book.

This isn’t saying skip your friends birthday because you’re tired or ignore all your texts one day just because you feel like it.

But burnout doesn’t just come from your school work.

It can happen when you are going out too much and draining your social battery. You don’t want to run out of steam too early, so take time to be independent and put yourself first in some instances.

Learn how to Combine fun and productivity.

If you couldn’t tell from this article, there’s not much better than laying around on the Old Main lawn and basking in the sun.

While I support taking time to experience nature and relax, if you’re really slammed, try combining lounging outside with some work.

Most places on campus, even outdoors have Wi-Fi. There is so much hidden outdoor seating around buildings that even seniors wouldn’t know about.

It’s much easier to grind out an assignment when enjoying the nice weather than feeling trapped indoors. Going on a run around a park is going to feel more fulfilling than a workout inside the gym.

Again, it’s all about balance. If you can manage to study for a test, apply for a job or even send some emails while enjoying the random days of perfect weather, go for it.

Avoiding burnout can be difficult, especially if you want to prioritize time in the sun with your friends. However, if you can manage your time, you can truly have the best of both worlds.

I am Sophia D'Ovidio, a third-year majoring in digital and print journalism with a minor in media studies. When I'm not writing for Her Campus @ PSU I am watching TV, at the gym, making TikToks or with my friends. During my time at Penn State, I also am the director of the Arts and Entertainment department at Commradio, Penn State's student-run, web-based radio station affiliated with the Bellisario College of Communications. I oversee and contribute to articles, talk shows, podcasts and live coverage events for my department. Additionally, I am a volunteer for THON, the largest student-run philanthropy event where Penn State students raise money to combat childhood cancer. I am from Allentown, New Jersey, and I love spending time at home with my family and down the shore. My other interests include comedy, film, women's soccer, hiking and music.