As a student, regular studying and staying on top of your workload and assignments is vital. Yet it is possible to study too much! How can you avoid ‘over-studying’ and burning yourself out?
1. Schedule Your Study Sessions
This is a great way to ensure you keep studies on track, without burning out. Whether by yourself or with a group, create a “study schedule” that works for you and that allows you to spread your study out over various days of the week.
This will help you manage your workload accurately and avoid becoming overwhelmed or burnt out.
2. Study In Shorter Blocks
While studying for 2-4 hours can be beneficial, studying for something like 6 or 8 hours straight will likely result in a burnout. Shorter blocks mean you can make the most of your concentration, without pushing your brain to the limit!
3. Focus On One Thing At a Time
For each study session or block, make an effort to focus one particular module or area in your course. This can be much more beneficial than trying to understand or memorise an entire subject at once – which will likely lead to exhaustion and burning out.
4. Don’t Make a Habit Out of Cramming
Last-minute cramming can easily lead to burn outs and stress, since it means you’re pushing yourself to learn a lot in a short period of time. Even worse, cramming can affect your performance and your exam/assignment results.
Stick to your study schedule as much as possible and don’t depend on cramming – if you miss a study session, try to make up for it in that same week or the following week, at very least.
5. Take Regular Study Breaks
For every 1-2 hours of study that you do, take a 5-15 minute break. Regular breaks ensure that your mind is given ample time to rest and reflect on the information you are taking in. It also creates brain breathing room!
During your break, do something non-study or desk/computer related. You can go for a walk, grab a snack, call a friend or engage in some light exercise.
6. Rest & Sleep Well
Getting the right amount of rest and sleep is essential to prevent burnouts. Lack of sleep/rest can hamper your cognitive functioning, making it harder to actually study and learn. It can also lead to exhaustion, fatigue, frustration and of course, burning out.
7. Eat the Right Foods
Eating a healthy diet is essential for good brain and body performance. Binging or eating lots of junk food can lead to lethargy and a decrease in your studying motivation.
Avoid junk or processed foods whenever possible and focus on eating fresh foods packed with proteins and nutrients instead. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel when it comes time to study!
8. Avoid Caffeine & Other Stimulants
Stimulants like caffeine may seem like a good study buddy, but they can actually affect the way your mind absorbs information. Instead of using caffeine/stimulants to help you stay awake, focus on eating right and getting more rest instead. If you do crave a caffeine fix, have it as a treat or reward at the end of your study session.
9. Do Things Other Than Study
When you do nothing but study, you can quickly feel like you’re burning out. While during certain times of the term/semester you will need to buckle down, don’t punish yourself by studying so much that you become exhausted.
Instead, break up your studies by focusing on other important things in your life, such as friends, family and exercising. Staying active physically and socially is also a great way to stay active mentally!
10. Reduce Your Workload
If you find that you’re just not coping with your studies, it may be necessary to lighten your workload. This can particularly be the case if you’re working full-time (or even part-time) or if you’ve got other responsibilities (like family commitments).
Each subject should have a recommended number of hours for studying, so assess whether the workload you’ve taken on can work realistically with your lifestyle and free time.