Students heading into a workout.

The spring semester has begun, and students are returning to a life of academia during a pandemic.

With the fall semester under our belt, students should have expectations for what this new semester will bring. However, students will face challenges and potential burnout, especially with the added toll of the pandemic and isolation.

Fortunately, students can take some steps to help stop this burnout from overtaking them.

Take breaks

One of the best ways to improve studying while not overworking yourself is to take breaks. 

By taking small breaks in-between studying and finishing homework, students will retain more of their school material and will be more productive after each break, according to an article from MIT. It also helps fight against feelings of stress and overload, as it spaces everything out.

However, students shouldn’t take long breaks, as that kills motivation and can lead to procrastination. A good time frame for breaks is between 15 minutes to an hour at most, usually after an hour or more of work. 

Whatever you decide works best for you, make sure to stick to that break and get back to work once break time is over.


This might sound counterproductive, but exercising before, during or after studying helps. 

According to an article by WGU, exercising helps increase brain function and retention. Basically, it helps your brain take in and recall information. Along with this increase in mental performance, exercising is a good activity to take your mind off of school for a little bit. 

Therefore, when you do resume studying, your focus will increase as you return with fresh mind and eyes. It is also good to work out in general, as there are health benefits to sticking to exercise regimens. It doesn’t have to be extensive; even just going for a walk would help.

Take a mental health day

Sometimes, it helps to take a day away from school to rest. Taking mental health days can help students to focus on themselves and make sure that they are not declining under the weight and stress of school. 

Days like these are best focused on either resting or doing something enjoyable. It is good to go into these days with a general outline of what you want out of the day and what you want to do. 

You can drink tea, watch a movie, read a book you enjoy, go for a walk or just stay in bed. By devoting a day to rest, students will feel rejuvenated when they return to their normal school schedules.

However, try to avoid taking too many days off at once as this can throw schedules off or make students fall behind in their classes. Students can also reach out to the Counseling Center for assistance with mental health concerns.

This semester will be hard, especially with the seemingly endless and draining video classes. That does not mean students cannot be proactive about prioritizing their mental health and take these steps to avoid burnout and improve study habits. 

Students cannot succeed if their mental and physical health are declining. One break can go a long way.

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