High school is stressful enough as it is, what with the little lunch feuds or that teacher that you so despise. Add to that stressful situation the pressure of studying all the time and HSC, well, you might be feeling like your head is about to explode (and you really won’t be too far off the mark in thinking that)!
However, you don’t want that to happen. Definitely not while you’re at home and god forbid, at school! So here are some strategies to help you identify when you are approaching the dreaded burnout stage and how to prevent it from sweeping you off your feet!
When are you approaching the burnout stage?
You are stressing over the littlest of things
If finding an ink stain in the margins of your Maths notebook (or something similarly trivial) is stressing you out, then you are nearing your burnout.
You want to just throw in the towel already
Do you just not want to do your homework anymore? Or study for the upcoming exam? Do you just want to stop studying altogether? Because if that is how you’re feeling, then you seriously need to slow down!
Your old motivation tricks aren’t working anymore
Have you given yourself a pep talk to no avail? Tried to read inspirational quotes but they too didn’t work?Are you experiencing insomnia over thoughts of HSC?
Psychologist Carr-Gregg says that if you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep over ‘”endlessly pessimistic thoughts that my life no longer has meaning”, then you might be on the edge of developing depression.
You can’t seem to find satisfaction in any of your achievements
Do you feel as though no matter how high a mark you get, you still have a lot to improve? If you are always pushing yourself and not taking a break, you might be fast approaching the breaking point. Don’t let that happen.
If you’ve found that you relate to any of the above situations, then incorporate the following strategies to retreat before it’s too late.
What to do to prevent yourself from burning out?
Stop studying all the time
Studying more does NOT equal better marks. What does equal excellent marks, though, is quality studying. That is, the kind of study that is efficient and that requires you to be efficient, not study for long hours with your eyes glazed over.
Just chill for a bit
When I was doing my HSC, I used to think that if I relax for even one day, I would bring my ATAR down by several points. This, as I eventually found out, was a terrible mistake.
According to Steven Paredes, achiever of 99.95 ATAR, taking a ‘no-study night’ once a week is crucial to succeeding in your HSC.
So instead working yourself to death, you should have a fixed day that is your very own Sunday i.e. it is a little holiday for you. This is not going to bring your ATAR down; if anything, it’ll only increase it.
Don’t overthink things
Overthinking stresses you out and this ultimately leads you to approach that burnout stage even quicker.
“When you’re overthinking, you’re going round and round in a loop instead of moving forward and problem solving,” explains Lori Hilt, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.
So instead of overthinking things, take action to rectify whatever it is that you don’t like about the situation!
Indulge in a little ‘play’
Are you a soccer person? A tennis nut? A video game fan? Whatever is your poison, indulge in it. Do anything that relaxes you and keeps your mind occupied. Research suggests that those who take part in any activity, be it physical or mental, have sharper minds and participating in any physical activity also results in a release of endorphins- the anti-stress, happy hormone!
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Mansahaj Kaur completed her HSC in 2015 and now studies Bachelor of Commerce/Laws at USyd. She thinks that English is the most versatile and loveable language on planet Earth and she loves dabbling in anything English related, writing included. But then again, this could be because she hasn’t learnt French or German or Japanese yet. But it’s on her bucket list, mind you! Her desire to learn another language or two is only matched by her passion for eclectic tones and mystery dramas- yes yes, Sherlock, too. She is an avid reader and writer, her favourite series still being Harry Potter, despite her having read numerous renowned classics. Mansahaj likes to think that by becoming a lawyer, she might be able to make a slight, small-as-your-pinkie, teensy difference in the world; but that might be wishful thinking!