Here comes that period of the semester when your stress levels will soon be on the rise due to group projects, presentations, annoying classmates/profs, preparation for final exams, sleep deprivation, and job (if applicable) and prayerfully you don’t get ill (with the flu) during the meantime. Welcome to student burnout! I have been in those shoes ladies and it was no fun at all. I always felt like exploding and constantly ran a countdown of the weeks left till the semester break or vacation. It’s a tough period but don’t panic, God is on His throne and will always see you through any situation if you allow Him to. I’d like to share with you some of the ways that alleviated my burnout as a former student:
- Put God First: The common thing that happens when burned out is to reduce time with God. We begin missing a few weeks of church and a few days of prayer and Bible reading because God should understand that we need to focus on school first. That’s a lie of the devil who uses the busyness of school to render us spiritually weak. Yes, we should concentrate on school but not to the detriment of our soul. This doesn’t also mean we should spend 24 hours a day with God but rather spend quality time with Him daily. In my case, it meant rearranging my schedule; for instance, I shifted my Bible study to nighttime as I could no longer do it in the morning.
- Remember the Sabbath Day: The idea of taking one day off per week just to relax was ludicrous to me. As a student, every minute of every hour of every day counts. However, the Holy Spirit convicted me while studying the ten commandments that I was not obeying the Word of God. Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), which means that our Heavenly Father instituted the Sabbath day for our own good to take a rest from our labor. I consequently took a leap of faith and started taking one day off to rest, and you can’t imagine how refreshed I became, always re-energized for the following day! When we study 7 days a week, we wear out our body and brain overtime. I can assure you ladies that my grades even improved after observing this day of rest as I had more stamina; when we honor God, He honors us back!
- Plan out your work schedule: Every semester, after receiving all my syllabi, I always pulled out my calendar and began jotting down the dates for all the deadlines/tests/mid-terms. I planned out what course to study for what day. This tremendously helped me stay on track. When you procrastinate or are unorganized about your study habits/homework, it becomes messy and when exam time comes, oh boy, there’s no way to trace back your steps (unless of course you’ve mastered the art somehow).
- Exercise, eat well, have a social life: Exercise as much as you can to relieve stress. I used the aerobic videos on Youtube to work out for 15 minutes as an alternative for going to the gym. Eating well wasn’t a problem for me because I always cook; however if you don’t have the time, force yourself to have a balanced diet to appropriately nourish your body. Finally, use your Sabbath day to socialize with friends or do something relaxing to focus on other things than school.
- Trust in the Lord: After having followed all of the above tips, crown it up with trust in the Lord. The Bible puts it this way: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep” (Psalms 127:1-2). The whole point is: “Do your best and leave the rest to God.” Remember if you honor God, He will honor you back. It’s not by “killing” yourself with school that you’re going to prosper but instead by doing your best and trusting the Father to take care of you; He will provide for your needs.