It’s the beginning of December, which means it’s coming up to the end of term deadlines. ‘Tis the season for all nighters, stress induced crying, and trying to work out how to squeeze thirty hours into a twenty-four hour day. It’s all essays and exams, studying and struggles. That means it’s more important than ever to look after your mental health. Here’s how to do it.
Take time for yourself
This may seem impossible when you have what feels like a hundred things to do, but this is when it matters the most. Make sure you’re doing things you enjoy, whether that be having a drink on a Friday night, watching an afternoon film, or just spending time with your friends and family. During these times, try not to think too much of all the work you have to do — it defeats the object of taking time for yourself.
Create a cut-off point
Find a time that suits you, and maybe that’s five in the afternoon, or nine at night, and stop working. No, really. The library may be functioning 24/7, but that doesn’t mean you are. This may seem like you’re shaving off precious work hours, but by creating a cut off point, providing you stick to it, you’re automatically making a new schedule. You might have to get up earlier to do work, but it means you’re switching off before you go to bed, and it’s more important than ever to keep up with your missed sleep to keep that brain in working order.
Be aware of the burnout
Burnout is a very real and dangerous thing. It happens when you push yourself too far. Our brains can only take so much. You can always spot when you might be about to burn out; it can come in the form of exhaustion, or just finding it more difficult than usual to concentrate. Listen to your brain when it’s telling you to stop, and then stop. Go to sleep, get some rest, and try again the next day. Any work you produce during a burnout will be futile.
Do your best
But the most important thing is to realise you can only do your best. This is not an excuse to slack off, but a way of realising that you can only do so much. This is an important mindset to have, not only when we submit an essay or finish an exam, but also when you get the marks back. A disappointing grade doesn’t mean a failure; it means you have to get up a try again. All we can do is our best.