Recharging for a week of no sleep...
December 3, 2012 6:26 PM   Subscribe

I'm feeling burnt out. Help me recharge for finals.

It's been a stressful semester, and finals are coming up. I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally drained due to a variety of factors (some social, but mainly working too much for my heavy class load and getting used to science classes after several years of no math or science, and being behind all semester when I'm used to being completely on top of everything). This is my last week of classes, and then I have a few days to prep for finals. At this point, the thought of studying more makes me want to cry. But I need to study hard and do very well on 2 of my classes to not mess up my GPA. I also have a wedding to go to in the middle of finals week, plus I'm TAing and have grading to do, and have assignments due this week, and have to work, and need to get in my grad school application, and am just generally feeling overwhelmed. I have no motivation to do anything at this point, and I have so much to do. How do I get out of this funk and get myself in the right frame of mind to effectively study for my finals?
posted by DoubleLune to Education (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I run a lot. A few miles every couple of mornings. It's *great* when I'm stressed -- it shakes my body up and gets the juices flowing so I have more energy to do whatever I need to. And it's also kind of meditative: I can just shut off my brain a little bit and feel mentally refreshed afterwards, as well.

Any kind of sport that'll just get you moving and get your mind off of finals for a couple of hours would probably help, as well.

That's where I'd start!

Good luck with finals!
posted by chasing at 6:31 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

This works for me when I'm feeling burnt out -- what will work for you may be different:

Make a schedule, include all of your big dates (exam dates, assignment dates, wedding dates). Work backwards and block off time to work on each thing, and time to get appropriate breaks. Remember that you need sleep do perform at your best (make sure you're getting 8 hours when it's really crunch time). Also keep in mind that you need to be giving your body the nutrients that it needs -- plan for how you will eat (and a sandwich or salad from the caf everyday is a perfectly viable plan if that's what works for you -- just don't leave eating until you're woozy from hunger as well as stressed). It may also not be such a bad idea to stock up on things like Naked juice smoothies that you can down in a pinch (they are pretty sugary though, so make sure you can handle that).

The _first_ thing in your schedule though should be a day of rest. Watch a movie, get a massage/mani-pedi, do some exercise (it's still mental rest). Eat something healthy. Eat something bad for you but comforting.

Some other notes about the schedule: prioritize now, so that when you're actually facing the whole mess, you don't have to look at the whole mess, just whichever piece is on top of the list. Also, consider something like the Pomodoro technique of working 25 minutes on and then enforcing a 5 minute break. If you have too much trouble staying on one task for too long, switch to a different task after each Pomodoro (or maybe after every 2).

If you have a plan for what you'll do when you get back into the swing of things, it should help you to really relax during this calm-before-the-storm.

Good luck, you can do this! (says the one who should be learning the Law instead of cruising the Green)
posted by sparklemotion at 8:03 PM on December 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally drained

Sounds like you need a serious study break, so I say do anything that is the opposite of above -- whatever makes you feel physcially (and /or) mentally (and/or) emotionally satisfied.

Exercise is great for this, and it doesn't have to be strenuous at all. Just a long, slow stroll around campus would work.

If you have a hobby you enjoy but haven't had time for recently, now's the time to give it some attention before you have to neglect it again.

Spend some special time with your SO or friends.

Just do something that makes you feel good, refreshes you and is not related to classes / study, because really you sound in need of some down time and I am sure you deserve it.
posted by ditto75 at 8:07 PM on December 3, 2012

One thing to do is to have a cut off before finals. Get a great night's sleep. You'll be well rested AND more knowledge will be in your brain. Here's the skinny on that.

Another thing to do is to go easy on caffiene and sugar. It's sort of instinctive to turn to stimulants, but you'll feel better and rest more deeply if you don't have artificial stimulants in your system.

Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, lean meats, whole grains.

Exercise and fresh air.

There's only so much you can do with the studying and if your GPA goes down a couple of fractions of a point, it's no big deal. Honest. I graduated with a 2.0, I still got into grad school, I got married, I own a home. Oddly enough, I've NEVER been asked what my GPA was.

Perspective is a beautiful thing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:12 AM on December 4, 2012

It's better to be well-rested than well-studied for an exam - I know my problem-solving abilities seriously erode when I'm tired and/or stressed. Self-care first.

2nding taking the long view - will this matter in a few years? Worse, is stressing the crap out of yourself now really temporary, or are you setting yourself up for an unreasonable workload long-term?
posted by momus_window at 9:22 AM on December 4, 2012

Nthing taking a solid break - exercise, eat, socialize, sleep.

Make sure you're drinking enough water and getting vitamins over the final stretch. Especially if you're in a place with reducing natural daylight (hello, northern hemisphere) - make sure you get LIGHT and Vitamin D.

Remember that every decision costs energy - so keep your unnecessary decisions to a minimum.

And yes, remember that this to shall pass you can triage as you go.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2012

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