Healthy Study Habits That Help Avoid Burnout
Higher education is very beneficial for social workers, enhancing your career prospects while equipping you with the knowledge needed to be successful in your chosen field. However, college can be challenging at times. Stress is not uncommon among students, especially when they are juggling career and family responsibilities in addition to their studies.
According to one 2023 report on stress and burnout among college students, 40% report that they don’t get adequate rest most days of the week. This is having a clear impact on their studies; those who get less than six hours of sleep have a lower GPA than those who do.
45% admitted to having higher-than-average stress levels, 33% thought their stress levels were average, and nearly 13% said that they felt tremendously stressed out. Only about 9% of respondents reported lower-than-average or no stress in their academic lives.
For some students, the stress and burnout end when they finish their degree and find employment. For others, the nature of their job means that they are likely to continue experiencing emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, distancing, and an inability to relax.
Social work students are especially susceptible to these feelings from time to time as social workers are tasked with caring for people with some of society’s most serious problems. They may work with families and individuals who live with violence in the home, disability, addiction and discrimination.
Therefore, it is essential to learn how to manage stress in college. The skills social work students use to avoid burnout during their college years will help them when they start working in the field.
Those who enroll in a masters in social work online at Cleveland State University will study topics such as human behavior and the social environment, disparities, diversity, inclusion and social welfare policy. They will also complete field hours within their community.
This is a big workload, and some students may find themselves falling behind on their assignments. However, if they can learn to manage stress and burnout symptoms at this stage of their lives, they can use those same skills to cope when they eventually find employment.
How can students ensure that they remain emotionally and mentally healthy during their time in college?
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Healthy study habits for college students
It’s easy to say that college students should get to bed early, get enough sleep, get some exercise and eat healthy foods. However, many of them take these steps but still find themselves feeling overwhelmed sometimes.
If you want to successfully banish stress and burnout, you need a strategic approach that involves the following components.
Know what is expected of you before each semester begins
Many students are caught off guard mid-semester when they realize what the curriculum requires of them. They may then need to put in extra hours each day to meet deadlines.
However, this situation is easily avoidable. If you find out what is expected of you from the outset, you can manage your time better, and you will not feel the added pressure close to deadlines that brings on stress and burnout.
Take some time at the beginning of each semester to talk to your instructors about whether there are any projects you’re expected to complete, the number of assignments you can expect, how many tests there will be, and how many field hours you are required to log.
Be your own person
It is normal to socialize during your college years, but you should never let it get in the way of your studies. You shouldn’t let others influence you into participating in activities that pull you away from your studies. If you have assignments that are due early in the week, make sure you devote time to them on the weekend. It is important to remember your goals and stick to them, even if it means declining to attend some social events.
Widen your circle of friends
Most of your friends will belong to your peer group, but by restricting yourself to associating with other students your age, you will miss out on what older, wiser people have to offer.
You will meet a lot of people when you go to college, and it’s a good idea to make friends with a few people who are established in your field or find a mentor. These individuals can teach you a lot about time management and focus and even give you advice on the best way to excel in your career.
It can also be helpful to expand your circle even wider and interact with students from other countries. These individuals can help you practice interacting with people whose cultures are very different from your own, which will be a regular aspect of your social work career.
Don’t put difficult tasks off
It is human nature to put off difficult tasks until we cannot avoid them any longer. In college, as in your professional life, this will almost always backfire.
If you come across a task that seems particularly challenging, you should start to tackle it right away. The earlier you get started, the sooner you will complete it. This will also ensure you have plenty of time to seek help if needed. Many times, tasks that seem difficult only look that way until you start to tackle them.
Don’t forget your family
Your family has the power to be your biggest support system, even if you are living far away from them. When you are in college, there is a natural yearning to establish your own life outside of their influence, but you should make an effort to maintain ties if you have a healthy family relationship.
They will be there to lift you up when you encounter difficulties, and they will celebrate your successes with you. If you discuss the challenges you face at school with them, it will be easier for them to step in when you need help.
College can be a wonderful time. Not only are you gaining the skills you need to start your career, but you are also growing up and getting a glimpse of how the real world works.
It can also be a stressful time, and those who aren’t careful often find themselves burned out. Learning the right coping skills at this time will help you succeed in your professional life.