University students can burn out easily with the pressure of having to excel in school while participating in extracurriculars and maintaining a social life. Burnout is the result of feeling overwhelmed or overworked for too long. I dealt with it recently because I pulled a few all-nighters for the first time for a class. I knew I was burnt out the week after because I had a loss of motivation to do any of my tasks; my usual to-do list wasn’t even made for the week.
To recover from burnout and prevent it from happening again, figure out the reason that it happened. This could be your workload, too many meetings, friendship issues, all-nighters, etc. Once you know the reason, you can make changes accordingly. For example, I was burnt out due to a long report and presentation for a class. The all-nighters and constant working on the report overwhelmed me.
Other people can pull multiple all-nighters and feel completely fine, but I’ve never done this and it didn’t go well for me. Because it caused me to burn out, I made changes in my study habits to start assignments earlier. Procrastination is what stressed me out to get things done well and on time. Other examples of changes to make: if you have too many meetings in a week, try to reschedule a few. If you took on too many responsibilities, try saying no to more.
A good way to recover is to take time to yourself. During the weekend, practice self-care. Do things that make you feel happy to take any stress away. Do not feel guilty to press pause on your work or responsibilities for a day to rest. There are better days ahead and you’re going to be okay. After a week of feeling burnt out, I was back to my regular day-to-day with some changes. Talking about it can also help; explain to the people around you what you’re going through and they might be able to help ease any responsibilities or stress.
Much of this is better said than done. If you take action and at least take that first step in figuring out the root cause of the problem, it may not arise again. Burnout is normal and it’s okay to take a step back when you feel too overwhelmed because your mental health is just as important as your physical health.