Dealing With Academic Burnout at University

Blogs 05 May 2023 / 5 mins read

By Owen Redman

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Studying continuously for 3 to 4 years will mean that you will inevitably face academic burnout at some point, whether you’ve always been academically inclined, or whether you’re someone who struggles to put passion into their work. Keep in mind these 4 tips to deal with academic burnout. 

Take a break

When you feel a bout of low motivation and burnout  coming on, don’t fight it! This will only be counterproductive, and taking a small break is the best thing you could do for your mental health and academic performance alike.

  • Don’t feel guilty! Remember that this will benefit you in the long-run, so don’t feel bad about taking a day or two away from academia all together. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “productive”, spending a few hours watching a movie or going for a long walk can be hugely helpful for your wellbeing
  • Take a break from your environment. Consider spending some time at your friend’s house, or at a cafe. If it’s feasible, go home for a home-cooked meal and a catch-up with your parents and siblings 
  • Consider some time away from electronics. These days, it seems that our entire lives are on our screens. University students in particular typically spend all day on their laptops and phones, and then use their phone further as a break. You might feel that academia is burning you out, but in reality it could be the constant screen time. Try to spend a full day completely switched off from electronics  to practise some mindfulness. If you find that it works for you, this can be something that you implement 2-3 times a month

Move onto something else 

Long, intensive projects, such as working on your final year dissertation, can be the cause of academic burnout. Sometimes you just need to move onto something else temporarily  to give yourself a bit of variety. 

  • Look at your university classes and study what you haven’t worked on in a while. If you’ve spent hours on campus at lectures, do a seminar reading instead. If you’re sick of pouring over academic journals, give your brain a break from reading and review a lecture recording. 
  • After coming to university, a lot of students find that they abandon their hobbies and other non-academic interests, so take this opportunity to get back into them. If you’ve never had a hobby, this can be the perfect time to take one up. They don’t have to be expensive or time consuming: Spending 10 minutes on Duolingo or Babbel to start learning a new language or buying a yoga mat to do some morning exercise are some perfect ways to get started

Restructure the way you work 

Academic burnout is incredibly common, but if you feel like you experience it more than usual, your study habits could be unsustainable or unhealthy. Take a real look at the way you work and see if you could improve it.

  • A good diet is imperative for concentration and motivation. Eat a substantial, protein-filled breakfast that will fill you up and release energy throughout the day. Taking snacks such as dark chocolate, berries, protein bars or nuts will give you a burst of energy is also a good tip to save you a trip to the library vending machine!
  • Are you a morning riser or night owl? The great thing about university is that your schedule will likely be flexible, especially during exam time, so you can work on your own terms. Test out working at different times of the day to find out at what time you are more productive
  • Be aware of caffeine! A Redbull or cup of coffee is often an essential for any student when studying. However, if you rely on an unhealthy amount of caffeine throughout the day, take a look at your sleep and health habits and make sure you are sleeping 8-10 hours a night

Talk to your GP or university advice team 

If you get enough sleep at night and eat a balanced diet, yet feel permanently burnt out, this could be a signal of a bigger issue. Talk to your GP or university counselling service for advice – the fix could be easier than you think. 

  •  If you are generally fatigued, your doctor could suggest a blood test to identify deficiency that is causing an issue, or suggest supplements that could change your work ethic and concentration 
  • Academic burnout, low mood and feelings of defeat can also be a symptom of a mental health issue such as clinical depression. Remember that clinical depression can be destructive and requires medical attention. Reaching out to your GP or university advice team is the best thing to do in this situation: even just having a quick chat to get your feelings off your chest will alleviate some of your stress and help more than you know!

Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!

Posted by Owen Redman

Co-founder of Roome

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