Did you know that if you type in the words “why am” into Google search, its autocomplete function offers the search “why am I so tired” followed by “why am I always tired?” It’s quite a sad indicator that our lifestyles are burning us out.
Arianna Huffington recently wrote a blog discussing this and also brought it up while discussing her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, at the Alliance for Women in Media meeting I attended last week. In fact, she talked about how she actually told the female graduates at the Smith College commencement to “sleep their way to the top.” However, she didn’t mean sleeping around; she meant they should learn to get proper sleep and nap, so they don’t burn out.
College definitely contributes to young people’s unhealthy habit of “surviving” on minimal sleep, but do you notice how, as you continue your college years, you slowly start feeling more and more like you’re burning out? It’s time to change that and learn to let your body (and mind) recover.
Make naps your best friend.
I usually hate naps, because they make me disoriented. However, during my senior year of college, they became my best friend. I was sleeping as much as I could in between classes and work (and sometimes through them, oops!). While I resisted at first, in the end I felt better and the burnout feeling faded a bit. And they don’t even need to be long. While I was watching “Dr. Oz” last semester, he explained that naps really only need to be 10-20 minutes long.
Plan ahead, and get organized.
This may seem obvious, but probably the biggest obstacle college students face is procrastination due to being unorganized. This was the case for me, and my sleep schedule suffered because of it. Often times I’d get distracted with hanging out with my boyfriend or catching up on my DVR as I tried to put off assignments. As a result, practically every night I had to work on my assignments until 2 or 3 a.m. Or, I would forget to set up a schedule breaking down a big project only to do a 10-page paper the night before. That’s why planning ahead and getting organized is the key to success and, more importantly, the key to keeping you from burning out. So go out, get a planner and make sure you schedule accordingly. College isn’t all that bad; you just need to learn to balance and prioritize your time.
Turn off your devices.
Unless you live off campus in an apartment or with your parents (this was me), chances are that making your dorm a device-free room is not an option. However, aim to shut off your devices at a designated time, so that you’re not tempted to spend the time you should be sleeping scrolling through your Twitter feed. Celebrity news can wait, and your friend will probably post another Instagram picture by the time you wake up. It may also be wise to set a bedtime routine, such as meditation and reading, so that you can let your brain know it’s time to catch some z’s.
We are too young to start burning out now. Take these tips, and make them your holy grail. Your body, mind and sanity will thank you.