Staying Cool

Today’s students have a very fast-paced life. Between keeping up with school and maintaining a social life, sometimes we find it really hard to relax. And when we do, we feel guilty because we take it as a waste of time. As we live in a time where there is a pressure to achieve as much as possible from a young age, we go through our life without really tasting it –just grabbing whatever opportunities available because we are afraid of missing out. The result? We get burnout.

Burnout is what happens when you are exposed to chronic stress for a long period of time. You feel so physically and mentally exhausted, unmotivated and resentful of everybody –especially your friends who seem to be able to do it all. When you are at this stage, you won’t be able to produce much anymore no matter how much effort you put in. It’s like milking a dry cow; your body has had enough.

So, before you hit your limit, here is what you can do to slow down:
1.Know yourself
Start by figuring out what type of person you are. If you are someone who thrives on a lot of coursework, taking extra electives will do you good. But if you are easily stressed, be realistic and set up manageable goals. Aiming too high will just set you for a harder fall. For pushovers, this might be a good time to start changing. Being altruistic is good, but not at the expense of your health. Listen to your body when it tries to tell you something. Take a step back when you feel like you are about to crash; it will save you a long recovery time.

2.Strategize
Joining a lot of extracurricular activities might look good on your report, but don’t do it if you are not prepared with the work it entails. As an alternative, choose one or two that you are really interested in and focus on those. It’s better to have a few that are truly good than a lot that are mediocre. When you have projects, set a fake deadline for yourself before the actual deadline is, so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter if you need to redo anything at the last minute. It’s not about the amount of time you spend that will guarantee the quality of your work, but the way you use it. As Dr. House says,” Work smart, not work hard.”

3.Live well
Never underestimate what a good night sleep or a healthy meal can do to your body. If you are getting less than 8 hours of rest every night, no wonder you feel like a zombie in class. There is no point in cutting on sleep to study when you can’t concentrate on your lessons. Trying to stay awake by chugging coffee is also a bad idea. While caffeine is good in moderation, too much of it will give you anxiety or even heart problem in the long run. Instead, drink more water and get more vegetables and oily fish into your meal. Antioxidants in leafy greens can slow down your brain’s aging process and Omega-3 in seafood has been proven to improve our cognitive ability.

4.Unplug
For at least thirty minutes each day, try to disconnect yourself from all sorts of technology. That means getting away from anything that requires electricity to function and is equipped with internet. Why? Because we need to unplug from our online life in order to recharge in real life, and it would be impossible to do with our gadgets lying around. The temptation would be relentless. So put down your phone and take a walk outside. Just look at the nature, breathe some fresh air, and clear your head. You will feel better immediately –all for nothing!

For Speak! Mar.edition, 2014

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