Avoiding burnout means budgeting time for fun, self-care

Sept. 16, 2013

Shelby Shively
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This is the fourth week of the semester, and for many, that means classes are starting to get more stressful. UCCS has resources for students to learn how to deal with that stress and avoid burnout.

The Office of First Year Experience aims to help students succeed academically, which can require more than good study habits.

Barbara Gaddis, executive director of the Office of Student Retention, said one of the most important things to do when students schedule their weeks is “[budget] in fun time.”

As long as that budgeting includes a little bit of time doing something other than studying, it can help break up a long week of classes, work, family and other responsibilities.

Maria O’Connell, one of the success coaches in the FYE office, agreed. “It’s important to find whatever helps you keep your [stress] down,” she said, adding students should “schedule it in small bursts … People think they don’t have time for self-care, but then [burnout’s] not going to help you at all either.”

Gaddis said the most important part of avoiding burnout “is really the need for time management planning.” Students can learn these skills and more at the Study Smarter, Not Harder workshops offered by the FYE office.

Gaddis said these workshops will teach time management, and it is also about “coming up with strategies for really maximizing the time that you spend [studying].” Dates and times can be found on the FYE website at uccs.edu/fye under the Academic Support tab.

Seniors have similar advice to offer. Lauren Burgess recommended “making time to hang out with your friends at least once a week, taking study breaks and switching subjects while studying.”

Megan Seabron said, “I set up a rewards system for myself.” After a week of studying and focusing on classes, she will go see a movie or hang out with friends.

Rod Jones said sometimes during the semester, he just needs to “disconnect with schoolwork and reconnect with friends and family.”

“I think sometimes you burn out because you really feel like there’s nobody there,” Gaddis said. She recommended a proactive approach when struggling in a class by going and speaking with the professor or using the Centers for Academic Excellence on campus.

“Avoid 8 a.m. classes,” Tyler Butler said. “That very quickly burns you out and leaves you brain dead for your other classes.”

Ashley Fay said she always tries to “use the time at the beginning of the semester to get ahead.”

Other students, like Jasmine Caldwell, use exercise as a tool. “I take a run outside because it’s so beautiful, and then I get a fitness high,” she said.

Gaddis added, “I think the busier you are, the more important it really is to get physical exercise … [and] get that nutrition in. If you feel better, you’ll do better.”

O’Connell expanded on this point: “You’re going to have that energy. If you’re getting enough sleep for your body, then you’re going to be more productive in your classes, more alert in your exams.”