The last couple of weeks have been incredibly challenging for most of us in the PR program. While reflecting on how I’ve been feeling this week, I came up with 5 ways to prevent PR student burnout.
Just because you’re a full-time student doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your sleeping habits. Always try to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep required to be able to perform at your best. The less sleep you get, the less you’ll be able to power through that twenty-page digital marketing and communications plan due next week. Put away the smartphone and put your computer to sleep at least an hour before getting ready for bed. The blue light coming from your smartphone and computer screen has shown to affect the quality of sleep you get. Now get counting those sheep!
2. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water
It’s easy to forget to eat when you’ve been staring at a screen for hours, not to mention remembering to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. Set an alarm as a reminder to take a break and eat. I’m not talking about chips either. Get a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables daily to fuel your body. Be proactive for those days you’re at school all day; pack a lunch, along with some snacks, to help keep your brain working hard. Not eating may result in being hangry and trust me, the members of your group project do not want to be subjected to a Hangry Hanna. Also, remember to drink plenty of water. If you’re thirsty, you might already be moderately dehydrated. Always hydrate yourself, especially if you’ve been drinking caffeine.
There are so many reasons why exercise is beneficial. Being stuck inside a classroom or sitting in one spot for too long can prevent blood from flowing properly throughout your body and to your brain. Make sure you get up and walk around every hour or so. Exercise also helps release endorphins and serotonin, boosting your mood, lowering stress and anxiety levels, and helping you get a good night’s sleep (see number 1).
4. Homework / life balance
Take a break from homework. Staring at your laptop for hours on end is not a healthy way to spend your student life. Create soft deadlines to have a certain amount of your work completed by, then take a break. Listen to music. Have a dance party in your living room. Close your eyes for a moment. Make an effort to maintain your social life once a week. Your homework will still be there when you get back. I promise.
5. Don’t procrastinate
Putting off assignments until the last minute will only contribute to student burnout. As mentioned in number 4, aim for soft deadlines so you aren’t frantically writing an extensive analysis an hour before your report is due. When it comes to studying, review and understand the content you learned in class on a regular basis in order to digest the concepts and terminology. If your instructor assigns several chapters from the textbook, read them. Read them and reflect on what you’ve read. Explain what a gerund is and how it is used in a sentence to your dog. Once that final rolls around, you’ll have less to review because you already know it.
Even by writing this blog, I’m starting to feel a bit better. I hope everyone reading this is taking care of themselves this weekend. There’s only a handful of weeks until finals and then we jump into the second semester.
You’ve got this!