Feeling burnout and unproductive is something that most students are familiar with. For many students, going away to university is likely to be your first taste of living independently, and having to function as an adult for the first time can be daunting. This mixed with academic, finance, part-time employment, social life and a pandemic which has changed the entire way in which students are taught, it is clear why student burnout can easily occur.

For some, the introduction of online learning has made student life a lot simpler to navigate. Lectures are now pre-recorded and available to access at any time; meaning that students have more control over how they spend their days. As opposed to being restricted to a timetabled system, you now have the flexibility to work at a time that suits you. So, whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, or something in between, you can now do your work when you please.

For others, working from home and at any time of the day has made it much harder to separate our work and personal lives. This coupled with the new lockdown restrictions, which means that many students are now spending their next term working from their *actual* home (as opposed to the their uni home) has resulted in them having little to no form of escapism from university life and lectures.

So, if you’ve struggled to create a balanced routine during your first term of virtual learning at university, here are some tips on healthy working and healthy breaks that could work for you to help avoid future burnout:

Healthy Working:

  1. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time during the week. Regardless of what times works best for you – keep it consistent.
  2. Shower and get dressed.
  3. Stay hydrated – aim to drink at least two litres of water a day. Remember: eat, sleep, hydrate, repeat.
  4. Create a comfortable workstation that is separate from your chill-out space.
  5. Start your day with the most difficult task.
  6. Download the Flora app (https://flora.appfinca.com/) to help reduce procrastination.
  7. Break your ‘to-do’ list into smaller, more manageable goals e.g. reading a chapter of text for your dissertation, writing the intro for an essay.

Healthy Breaks:

  1. Take a proper lunch break. Leave your workstation and switch your mind to something else for 30 mins. It’s so important to take a break away from your screen.
  2. Try doing three or four 20-minute walks a day – this is an easy way to get 10,000 steps into your routine.
  3. Use the Pomodoro Method: Take a five minute break after every 25 minutes of work. Do some yoga stretches on your chair, wash those dirty dishes, water your plants, or put on some Beyoncé and dance around your room.
  4. Do what you love and enjoy (lockdown permitting). Practice self-care and find some time each day to focus on yourself and your own mental health. Check out this article on self-care tips and tricks to try – https://bit.ly/3hXq5xh
  5. After every assignment or big deadline you complete, make sure to celebrate it, whether its virtual or socially distant, you deserve it!

We hope you find these productivity suggestions useful, but don’t forget that it’s okay not to be as productive as you might like right now. Things are really difficult, so be kind to yourself and take it easy. Good luck to everyone who is going back to university (even if it’s from the comfort of your home); your second term is a new chance to help create a balanced routine that works for you!

Remember, if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, we’ll be here for you whenever you need us. You can call HOPELINEUK from 9AM to midnight, seven days a week, on 0800 068 414, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

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