We’ve all experienced burnout. That feeling of running “on empty”.
In the context of education, burnout may be referred to as “senioritis”. It’s discouraging. Perhaps your student is nearing their high school graduation and slooowwwiiingg dowwwn. They’re finding it hard to focus on their studies. Motivation eludes them.
What can you do to encourage your student to finish strong? How can you help your student work through the burnout that’s holding them back?
We’ve got five strategies for you:
1. Help Your Student Rest
If we return to the analogy of a car running on an empty fuel tank, we can understand rest as “refilling” the tank.
We’ve explored rest on the Be Unbound Podcast before. It’s a surprisingly deep subject and certainly doesn’t just mean lying on the couch watching Netflix.
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Rest needs to be a part of your student’s rhythm. It doesn’t need to look the same for every student. Studying is a task that demands a lot from your student’s mind. Resting may look like a more “mindless” activity, like hiking or creating something with their hands.
Winston Churchill’s idea of rest was laying brick at his estate. While that may not seem restful to any of us, it neatly balanced Churchill’s time, which was consumed with writing, decision-making, and other heavily “mind-ful” tasks.
Help your student apply this strategy of rest to their studies. Don’t forget that life goes on. While studies are important, burnout is inevitable if your student neglects their physical and spiritual health as well.
2. Encourage Them To Take Breaks
This is somewhat related to rest. Your student needs breaks. Not just five-minute stretch breaks throughout the day, although those are good. They also need to take a weekend off.
There are certainly seasons of working overtime. There are busy seasons in our lives. Your student may have a lot of work or maybe trying to finish school early. This may require some extra time spent studying.
Studying over the weekends isn’t bad in itself. But if your student is studying for hours every weekend, it can lead to burnout very quickly.
Make sure that your student is taking time off. You’ll probably find that your student is more productive when they have a balanced schedule.
3. Remind Them of the Big Picture
Sometimes we get lost in the details and need to “re-catch” the vision. There are good reasons that your student is studying. Remind them of those reasons.
Help your student look ahead and see the big picture. Part of burnout is a feeling of futility. Seasons of burnout often bring feelings that our work isn’t making a difference and we’re wasting our time. It’s incredibly demotivating.
By helping your student refocus on their goals and the future payoff of their work, you’re helping motivate them and bring purpose to their work.
Get Your Student Back on the Road
Running on empty isn’t fun. Anyone can tell you that.
Your student is nearing the finish line. The good news is that it’s not actually a race. You can encourage them to finish strong by resting well, having a balanced schedule, and reminding them of the why behind their work.
Motivating someone else through burnout isn’t easy but it’s so rewarding to experience their success with them!
Maybe your student works best in a team. Unbound believes strongly in the power of community. In fact, we’ve built our core program, Ascend, on it. Apply today to connect your student with a supportive peer community that will simultaneously encourage and challenge them to reach for more!
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.