How to Actively Fight Burn Out

Guys. Burn out is real – and I’ve been feeling it the past couple weeks. I just started school in August and was concerned when I started to feel burnt out in October. If you’ve read my most recent posts, you would know that this second year of medical school is no joke. It is so much more time intensive and demanding, at least for me anyways. The one thing that I like this year over last year is that the content is much more medically related. I truly enjoy learning the pathology behind the disease and the different things that can cause it.

So how am I fighting this burn out?! Because taking a complete break from and extended time off from studying just isn’t an option for me…

Well, to be honest, I started freaking out a little bit when I first had absolutely zero motivation to review a lecture. I would read a slide and then take a five minute phone break (after every single slide). I felt exhausted and lacked the drive to do the work I needed to do. And this is scary… You start to feel like you’re behind and won’t ever be able to catch up. I called up my boyfriend, who is a year ahead of me school wise, and told him these things I was feeling. He’s been there before, burn out and all, and was able to give me some great advice.

He told me that when I feel like I can’t go on, when I can’t read another sentence, to stop what I’m doing and do something else. Simple, right? Of course, I told him that I don’t have time to stop studying and that I have to keep going. He responded by saying that I could keep going, but it will be unproductive work… I will stay in a rut of studying for hours but not have effectively studied nor retained much information. Instead, he suggested that I do something else productive. Whether that be meal prep some delicious dinners, exercise, yoga, or even take a walk, as long as I was doing something else that was worth my time, I won’t feel guilty about spending the time on that activity instead of studying.

You see, another problem I was having was not taking a complete break from school. I found that every chance I could, I was either flipping through flash cards or just had school on my mind. I was watching Netflix while thinking about what I should be studying or riding a stationary bike while watching Sketchy Micro. I realized that during the day, there was not a single moment where I wasn’t thinking about what I had to get done… and this is exhausting.

So for the last week or so, I’ve been trying very hard to listen to what my head is telling me. And let me tell you, it is way easier said than done. If I find myself unmotivated and tired, I will switch things up and do something else productive. When I get back to studying, I now will have a clearer mindset and am able to focus for a longer period of time.

I’ve made a little list for you (and to remind myself) or some things that I consider productive yet aren’t school related:

  • clean the room/apartment/house
  • workout
  • yoga/stretches
  • meal prepping
  • going for a walk
  • watching an episode of TV (BUT not thinking about school and seriously enjoying the down time, also not binging for an hour or more)
  • going grocery shopping
  • call your parents or other family members

These are just a few things that after I do them, I return to my studies more motivated and determined than before. Also, these things take time yet I don’t feel that time was wasted on them because they are benefitting me mentally (and some even physically)!

Do you have any suggestions on how you’ve fought burn out?! Please share below 🙂


6 thoughts on “How to Actively Fight Burn Out

  1. Love your list of things to do instead! I basically do the same thing but the struggle is so real in trying to fight burnout and then when you take a break you feel so guilty! But it really does help and when you get back to studying, so much more productive :).


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