Avoid end-of-semester burnout with mindfulness and rest

By Riley Dauber
Elm Staff Writer

With Thanksgiving break, the end of the semester, and finals week  looming, many students have fallen into a slump.

 They lack motivation to attend class and complete their assignments, and are counting down the days until they can take a break and hopefully spend time with their families.

It can be difficult to stay on task and achieve your goals, especially when it is so much nicer to stay in your warm bed instead of bracing the cold outside.

Here are a few tips and tricks for surviving the end-of-the-semester slump.

Make A Countdown

At this point of the semester, it feels like many students are anxiously waiting for the weekend or break.

 If you are having trouble focusing or finding motivation to complete your assignments, create a countdown.

 The countdown could be how many days until Thanksgiving break, the weekend, or even winter break.

Keep the countdown somewhere you can see to remind you of what you are working toward; either in your dorm or on your phone.

For example, my roommate and I have a countdown on our door so we can see how many days are left until Taylor Swift releases “Red (Taylor’s Version.”

We are looking forward to the release of the album, and the countdown reminds us each morning how close it is. Rewriting the numbers each day also gives us a fun daily routine.

Whether you’re counting down to Taylor Swift’s new album, Thanksgiving break, or even Christmas, its routine can provide both comfort and motivation for the toughest academic months.

Plan Ahead for Break

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the countdown idea.

Since most students are looking forward to the seasonal rest, this tip is pretty simple to complete.

Start making plans to spend time with your family and friends over break. Then you can use those future plans to motivate yourself to complete your last few assignments.

Planning does not work for everyone, but knowing that you will need to finish in order to spend time with friends over break could keep you motivated.

Besides, a little day dreaming gives your mind a rest from academics and a comforting distraction from exam anxiety.

Once you complete your assignments, you do not have to worry about school over break, and you can return with a clean slate.

Prioritize Assignments

It is important to prioritize assignments, even when you would rather do anything but study.

By prioritizing assignments, you are able to focus on what needs to be done and when it’s all due, assuring you are neither doing too much work nor too little.

For example, if you have a quick assignment due tomorrow, it is best to do it right away instead of working on an assignment that is due next week.

One recommendation is to write down all of your upcoming assignments and their due dates.

Start on the assignments that are due soon, and then work your way through the rest.

 In addition, if you feel drained, consider what assignments absolutely need to be completed.

If your teacher assigns a reading that will not be covered anytime soon, but may be beneficial for the test, you could wait to read the chapter until you are in a better mood.

Take Study Breaks

One of the best pieces of advice when it comes to schoolwork is to take breaks from studying.

Take your mental health into account, and know your limits when it comes to academics. Pushing yourself beyond your healthy limits will only hurt your work’s quality and frustrate you.

If you know you cannot read a chapter for more than 20 minutes, split up your time with little breaks. Spend 20 minutes on the reading and then five or 10 minutes doing something fun, like texting your friends or watching TikTok videos.

Additionally, if you spent most of your day completing assignments and studying, it is crucial you take some time for yourself.

 Watch a movie with your friends or attend a club meeting. Even taking time to go to dinner with your friends is a nice way to socialize, relax, and unwind before burning yourself out.

Talk To Someone

If you are feeling hopeless at this point in the semester for any reason, it may be beneficial for you to talk to someone, whether it is a family member, a friend, or someone at the Counseling Center.

Even if you have never tried therapy before, you may find it helpful to let out all of your frustrations and worries. If talking does not work for you, write down what you are feeling or go on a walk to clear your head.

Therapy is also easier than ever to get through the Counseling Center’s online partnership with Mantra Health.

Hopefully these tips have given you some options for how to survive the end of the semester slump.

Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. It is vital to take care of yourself and to check in on friends if they are having a rough time or overworking themselves.

On a more positive note, at the time of this publication, there are only 13 days left until Thanksgiving Break, so rest assured a break is on its way.

Elm Archive Photo
Featured Photo Caption: Burnout is a perennial problem for college students. The high-intensity schedules of club activities, jobs, homework, and exams leave many tired and lacking motivation in the second half of the semester. However taking time for oneself and being mindful can help students fend off the end-of-semester blues and push through finals.

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