by Nathaniel Dolquist
Even the brightest kids go through periods of boredom and lack of motivation. Burnout is becoming more common, and it’s not the student’s fault: high expectations, overscheduling, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep can all contribute. Here are some of the most effective ways we’ve found for battling burnout and feeling re-energized.
Take a break.
Routine and hard work are important, but sometimes getting away from them can help provide space to recover and reset. It is not the end of the world to take a mental health day from school. If you do, try to plan it on a day when there isn’t a test or large assignment due, but take the space you need when you need it. School will still be there tomorrow.
Take some activities off your plate.
Many students have activities after school and on weekends. While they absolutely contribute to a healthy and balanced life, having too many can take up time that should be devoted to rest. Even if they are all fun and important, see if there’s one that you can let go or take a break from.
Adhere to a disciplined sleep schedule.
Kids these days! Up till who knows what hour, then off to school early the next day. Not getting sufficient sleep, and not getting to bed early enough, can result in fatigue, burnout, and tardiness. Try setting a “lights out” time when all screens are put away, making sure the room is cool or warm enough, and blocking out ambient light from windows.
Stay well-fed and hydrated.
Everyone has different nutritional needs, but the basics are the same for everyone: if you don’t eat enough, you won’t have the energy to engage with difficult tasks like schoolwork, and if you eat too much you might feel lethargic. Ask a doctor how to develop a plan for optimal nutrition, and make sure to drink enough water!
Create time for non-school, non-work activities.
“All work and no play” is a swift road to burnout. Schedule time for enjoyable, relaxing activities that make you feel at ease. If the activity stresses you out, even if it’s well-intentioned, pick a different one. Just because you “should” be doing something doesn’t mean you have to.
Meditate, go for walks in nature, or find another way to calm the mind.Cultivating mindfulness may seem “woo-woo”, but as more and more schools begin to build it into their school days, students are finding how much of a difference it can make. One of the simplest and most effective forms is constructive rest, which can be performed anywhere you can comfortably lie down. Give it a try and see how your back feels afterward!