Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On Beating Burnout

Yes, it's that time of the semester kiddies!! The time when every deadline looms near and the minor freakouts come more frequently. Burnout is the unfortunate result in most cases.

What is burnout? Burnout is both mental and physical exhaustion that leads to very bad things. It begins with a dragging feeling, although that indicates you are well into burnout phase. Work seems bigger, more onerous. Soon, everything, even pleasurable events, are harder, both physically and mentally, to get through. You put things off, things take longer than usual, you wake up feeling tired no matter how much sleep you had, and, ultimately, you begin to feel defeated or even hopeless.

If you don't think you have ever experienced burnout or think it won't happen to you, check your mental responses. See how tired you are day to day. Get 8 hours of sleep a few nights in a row and see how you feel when you wake up.

I am obsessed with recognizing burnout. I spent years in my last career in burnout mode. It took me weeks to get out data for something that should have taken days. Months for get it. And I didn't recognize it until my first year of law school. I thought I was just slower than everyone else. Truth was, I was exhausted. So my first summer, I took about a month and did absolutely nothing. And slowly I came back. I still have to monitor myself, but I am much better at recognizing the signs.

Luckily for you (and me), Fearfully Optimistic has provided a link to short-circuiting burnout. And if you don't think it's important, numerous studies show that burnout has a huge effect on GPA. If a person is not mentally prepared during the exam, that person is going to miss things. Go ahead, ask me how much my grades improved after taking time off. Yeah, they were second year classes, but they all had a stiff curve.

So as I see myself beginning to slow down on work, taking 2 hours for writing one page instead of an hour, etc, I know it's time to do something that seems absolutely inconceivable to the average law student. I will cut back. This Saturday is the MPRE. So Sunday I will stay home and relax. Yeah, I will have to come roaring back on Monday. But because of Sunday, I will come back!

No comments: