How to Avoid Burnout at University

November 5, 2020
Kaz Bosali

By Becky Firth

The student lifestyle can be incredibly busy - you’re living alone for the first time and are faced with responsibilities you might not have dealt with before. Juggling coursework, exams, part-time work and a social life can be really exhausting. It’s really important not to over-work yourself - if you focus too much on academics or work without taking time for socialising, exercise and self-care, you can begin to burn out. On the other end of the spectrum, if you don’t prioritise academics enough, you risk falling behind and struggling to catch up. Getting that balance of work and play is essential. And HYBR has got you covered - here are six ways to ensure that you don’t wear yourself out at university. 

Plan your study time

The best way to stay on top of university work is to have a clear timetable. Invest in a fun planner or calendar, detailing all your classes, deadlines and readings! Keep an organised document for each of your modules, with lecture and reading notes and revision materials.

Set time aside to decide what you will work on that particular week and keep track of what you have and haven’t done. If you miss any classes, be sure to catch up as soon as possible. Having a todo list of what you need to do each week can really help make sure that you spread out your workload and stay on top of things. 

Set time aside just for you

Make sure you do something each day that is just for you. Do something you enjoy - meet with friends for coffee or cocktails, meditate, explore the local city, watch your favourite show... Make sure you’re not isolating yourself. Societies are a great way to find new hobbies and do something fun outside of academics every week! 


One way to avoid burnout is exercise. Not only is exercise great for your physical health, but it can be beneficial for your mental health too! Exercise can give you the boost you need to take on your university work. You can sign up for your local gym for regular sessions and classes, or take the more alternative route. Go hiking - explore local parks and must-see spots alone or with friends! Maybe join a sports society that you haven’t done before - most universities have teams for all skill levels. If you prefer to work out alone, use YouTube or apps to follow different classes online from the comfort of your own bedroom (Chloe Ting is just one example of guided at home workouts available on YouTube). On a busy day, a simple walk to or around campus can help clear your head. 

Eat a balanced diet

Food can be a great way to boost your mood at university. Investing in cookbooks or using recipes online can help you cook tasty, healthy meals from home!

Sometimes, taking a break from studying to spend time cooking in the kitchen can be really fun.

Put some music on, pick a meal that really stands out to you, and test your cooking skills! You can even have meals with your flatmates - maybe cook a Sunday dinner or come together for a takeaway night. Take advantage of local restaurants and cafes too. Local cafes and coffee shops can be great places to study if you have deadlines to meet but need a change of scenery. Treat yourself to good food at university, home cooked or not! 


Get enough sleep

With the night outs to bars and clubs that university brings, it can be easy to fall into a poor sleeping pattern. Having a poor night's sleep can make it even harder to meet those early morning lectures.

To avoid wearing yourself out, it can be helpful to establish a night time routine. Have specific times where you go to bed and wake up. Take some time to wind down before bed. Meditate (try Headspace, a simple, easy to follow meditation app), switch your phone off, do yoga, watch a film or listen to relaxing music. Create the perfect nighttime routine that works for you!

Ask for help 

If you feel yourself struggling at university, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Speak to family or friends, or your university’s mental health and wellbeing services. University can be hectic - balancing work and play can be difficult, and feeling overwhelmed is normal. There will always be people who can help and support you. You’re not alone - there are people who can help you feel better and get back on track. For support anytime, text or call the Samaritans at 116 123.116 12

Those are Hybr’s top six tips for looking after yourself at university and avoiding burn out. For more self-care tips for university students, click here.

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