Combating Year End Fatigue

Combating Year End Fatigue

This time of the year can make you rush to wrap up your coursework and commitments, and go bask in holiday mode. After all, this is the perfect time to recharge your batteries after a full year on the grind. 

Watch out for burnout (Symptoms and tips to recover) 

Burnout is characterized by mental, emotional, and/or physical exhaustion. Followed by a lack of inspiration and decreased performance standards, and sometimes, negative feelings towards self. 

And just as you have come to know, stress, pressure and tertiary education, career and business can go hand-in-glove.  

All of these responsibilities and expectations can get overwhelming. This can cause you to shut down. 


What do the symptoms look like? 

If your bout of fatigue goes unchecked, the harmful effects may change how you usually function. Here’s how you can spot the signs: 

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Absent-mindedness or being unable to keep concentration 
  • Trouble with falling or staying asleep for more than a few nights 
  • Feeling emotionally depleted and detached from work and people 
  • Exhaustion – the inability to pull off basic tasks such as jumping out of bed to face the world 
  • The loss of your get-up-and-go attitude in some parts of your life such as study/work or relationships 
  • Physical illness and symptoms such as light-headedness, chest pains, headaches or abdominal tension/unease


What can you do to get over the slump?

If you — or another person you know — is on the brink of a breakdown, try to: 

  • Seek help from other people 
  • Make relaxation a priority. Get plenty sleep. Make a conscious effort to stay away from electronic devices. Go meditate, play sports or dive into a hobby that you loved as a kid. 
  • Open up about your struggle to a person you completely trust – a friend, family member or colleague. 
  • Never over-apply yourself. Learn to say NO to some requests of your time that come your way. 
  • Write a list of commitments that stress you out a lot. And next to each one, indicate ideas on how you might minimise the stressors. 
  • Socialise outside of your regular circles or visit new places. New interactions and experiences might give you a fresh perspective on your work and lifestyle as a whole. 


Think like a project manager to develop a healthier relationship with your responsibilities. 

Just as a bandleader conducts musicians, a project manager leads a team of professionals. In this case, it’s your duty to manage yourself and your life efficiently. 

Below are four tips you can implement to transform your relationship with your work: 


1] Set aside dedicated time slots for planning 

Make room for thirty minutes to one-hour sessions each weekend. Plan out what you need to do in the upcoming week. Don’t allow any interruptions to get in your way — multitasking is right at the top of that list. Connect deeply with your work. 

The time spent on strategy and scheduling will determine how efficient you become for the week, for the year, for your entire course, and for your career. 


2] After finishing each project, test or exam, evaluate your performance 

Look at areas where you experienced roadblocks. Come up with proactive solutions on how you will avoid them next time. 


3] Write everything down 

As a project manager (you and the schoolwork being the project), you constantly handle new information and juggle various tasks.  

To manage all that effectively, write notes. Do this daily. Don’t rely on your memory. Keep a notebook and use a digital notepad — this allows you to access your second brain from any device, anywhere. 

This habit provides a reliable reference to visit when you forget any details for your work. 


4] Take care of you – set boundaries 

Efficient students know that when they draw up work plans for their tasks, they create space to meet deadlines. 

Set clear boundaries (in both your personal and professional life) and stick to them. This will help you perform at peak efficiency and avoid burnout. 

Bonus tip: 


Don’t run from difficult conversations.  

For example, leaving unanswered communication leads to misunderstanding and eventually, conflict and frayed relationships. For example, when you have an upcoming end-of-year report-back meeting with the organisation (or individual/s) funding your studies, prepare for it like you do your exams.  

Lead with honesty. Take full accountability for your responsibilities and expected deliverables. 

Do not hide. This shows character and why you deserve the growth opportunities that are being presented to you. 

And please, remember this: it’s not unusual to face emotional, physical and mental challenges due to the hard work you put into your hustle. 

Overall, accept what has been of the year, take a deep breath, and celebrate how far you’ve come and start thinking about how to navigate the following year. 


All the best with everything! 

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