All eyes are on the matric class of 2020 as they prepare to write their final exams.
All eyes are on the matric class of 2020 as they prepare to write their final exams.

How to avoid a study burnout during final exams

By Mary Anne Isaac Time of article published Nov 2, 2020

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You may have at some point of your studies experienced emotional, physical and mental exhaustion or a feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands.

This is known as a study burnout and can prove quite dangerous if nothing is being done about it.

The build-up of stress and anxiety can cause you to lose interest in the things you were once passionate about and make you seem on edge.

According to health experts at Help Guide, burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

“The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life – including your home, school and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with a burnout right away.”

Dealing with a burnout during exams

It is normal to feel a fresh bout of pressure before and after final exams, but never let it consume you to the point where you are nearing your breaking point.

If you ignore your mental, physical and emotion exhaustion, you will only cause further emotional and physical damage. You must take a break to pause and reflect on the path that you are on. You can overcome your exhaustion if you choose to deal with your study burnout.

Health experts and psychologists all agree that you can counter burnout with the “three R approach”– Recognise, Reverse and Resilience.

Recognise: Watch for the warning signs of burnout. Don’t ignore them. According to career expert Caroline Castrillon, the physical and emotional signs of burnout are depleted physical energy, low immunity to illnesses – where you become more susceptible to colds, flu and other illnesses – emotional exhaustion, withdrawing from personal relationships, and an increasingly pessimistic outlook of the world, your future and goals.

Reverse: You can reverse damage caused by burnout by reaching out for support from family, friends or your teachers. Talk about what you are feeling and how it is affecting you and your studies. Shut out every negative thought or person. Draw up a list of positive statements about yourself and stick it on your wall. When you wake up each morning, read it aloud.

Resilience: You must prioritise self-care by eating nutritious and balanced meals, adopting good sleeping habits, exercise and replenishing your mental energy by taking study breaks, walks outside or doing something recreational.

Create a realistic study timetable with adequate study breaks, lunch breaks and water breaks, also include a power nap. You must change your attitude towards your studies and think about the benefits of passing your matric. Re-evaluate and reset your priorities and studies.

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