Avoiding Burnout in Grad School

We’ve all been told to avoid burning ourselves out, but we are rarely told how exactly to keep burnout from happening.

Sometimes we neglect to realize that we are often creating our own burnout.

One of the biggest causes of burnout, is simply trying to do too much, or being too productive. One thing to remember about grad school, is that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Pacing yourself and spreading out your work is crucial to minimizing burnout.

Here are some tips to help you avoid burnout.

  • If you are tired, stop working. You won’t produce your best work when you can barely keep your eyes open. Take a break, and come back to your work with fresh eyes. You will be rested, and your mind will be clear. You are more likely to achieve your desired results if you allow time to take breaks and recharge.

  • Stop trying to be perfect. We all want to get the highest score, and turn in our best work, but sometimes it’s at the expense of our own health. That perfect 100 on your paper is not worth the stress and anxiety that can come with striving for perfection. Remember, once you graduate, nobody is going to know that you got a 3.8 GPA instead of a 4.0.

  • Sleep! Sleep is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your mental and physical health. The occasional night of little to no sleep won’t hurt you too much, but once it becomes a trend, it will impact you. Irritability, inability to concentrate, fatigue, and numerous other negative symptoms can be attributed to a lack of sleep. We aren’t saying you need to get 8 hours of sleep everyday, but find your sweet spot, and strive for that many hours of sleep every night.

  • Reach out for support! Having emotional support throughout grad school is invaluable when it comes to avoiding burnout. Support groups for students can be found on and off campus. If that’s not your cup of tea, reach out to your classmates, friends, family, and even professors. You don’t have to go through this alone!

You health and well-being should always come first. Take the time to take care of yourself. Your mind and body will thank you for it.