Working on assessments, dissertations, and preparing for exams can sometimes feel overwhelming. If this feeling persists, it can lead us to feeling burnt out.

Burnout is a state of exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged emotional, physical and mental stress. It doesn’t solely arise from your academic life; it can also develop from things happening in your personal life or a combination of the two. So, how can we prevent burnout from happening? We’ve created six top tips to help you out.

Tip 1: Recognise the signs of burnout

Recognising the early signs of burnout can help you become aware and improve your stress levels. The signs of burnout can often be subtle and could easily go unnoticed. The most common signs are:

  • Feeling tired and drained
  • Feeling defeated and experiencing self-doubt
  • Being detached or isolated from the rest of the world
  • Procrastinating and having difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of excitement
  • Frequent illness

Once you recognise these emotions and experiences, you can work on improving them so you don’t reach burnout. Read the following tips to see how you can do this.

Tip 2: Take regular breaks

Taking short and frequent breaks helps restore your energy, improve your performance, and refresh your memory. If you are studying for a long period of time, you should try the Pomodoro technique. This is a time management method where you break up your work into 25-minute intervals with a 5-minute break. You can use these short breaks to grab a snack and stay hydrated.

You can also take a break by moving away from digital screens. This helps to reduce eye strain and sleep problems. Experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule – for every 20 minutes you spend using a screen, you should look away at something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Moving your body is another way to take a break. Going on a walk and getting some fresh air will help calm your mind. Stretching is also great, as it helps release tension.

Student taking a walk in a park

Tip 3: Switch up your study routine

Changing your environment can improve your focus. Research shows you can focus better by regularly changing your study location. There’s lots of study spaces on campus, such as Clifford Whitworth and the MediaCity Library, the Cube at Lady Hale and the B’Hive at Allerton. You can book these spaces with a click of a button using the Library appCheck out our Instagram Reel for more hidden study spaces on campus.

If you tend to study independently, it might be worth organising a study session with your friends or coursemates. This can make studying more fun, and your friends can help clarify any questions you have.

Group of students working together in the Library

Tip 4: Practice good sleeping habits

Sleep is essential for your health and is a way to recharge your mind and body. To get a good night’s sleep avoid screens an hour before bed– the blue light can keep your mind active. If you find yourself tempted to scroll on your phone late at night, put it in night mode or set a bedtime schedule. If you must use your phone, turn on the eye comfort shield in settings to dim the brightness.

Creating a sleep schedule is a great way to rise and shine at the same time each day. This isn’t always possible, but if you stick to it most of the time, you will feel better and more refreshed.

For more sleep advice, check out our Wellbeing & Counselling team’s tips sheet. You can print this out and put it next to your bed for a daily reminder.

Tip 5: Prioritise self-care

Self-care is really in the name, it means taking care of your mind and body. You should be taking time each day for you. Everyone is unique with individual preferences, but here are some things you can do for self-care:

  • Eat regular meals
  • Practice deep breathing techniques
  • Meditate
  • Take a bath
  • Practice yoga
  • Read a novel
An open book next to a lit candle

Tip 6: Reach out for support

If you feel like you are suffering from burnout, remember to reach out for support. You can:

  • Talk to your friends or family
  • Have a chat with your personal tutor, module leader or Student Progression Administrators (SPAs)
  • Book an appointment with one of our Wellbeing Advisers. They are non-judgmental, confidential, and can help you find the best solution.