Taking care of you this university year

Taking care of you this university year

On The Record’s 2022 editorial team of seasoned UniSA students provide their top tips and apps for proactively prioritising mental health and avoiding burnout as we begin study period two and continue to cope with the chaos of global, national, and local news. (Image source: BBC)

By On The Record | @otr_unisa

Whether you’re experiencing your first weeks of tertiary education, entering your final year, or doing the hard yards in between, university is never easy. Neither is life. But we’re all in this together, and OTR’s editorial team is here to let you know – whatever you’re feeling this uni season – you’re not alone.

Sophie Gauvin – Editor | @Sophgauvin

Sometimes I find the grind can get a little overwhelming. I am the kind of person who overcommits and never wants to let people down, but in doing so I tend to leave my sanity behind. In the past year I have found that positive affirmations work wonders at grounding me. An app I have turned to is called I am, and it works by prompting positive reminders to minimise space for negative thoughts. Every time one pops up on my phone screen, I allow myself one minute to reflect, take some deep breathes and hit reset. Consistently using positive self-talk and letting go of mistakes has massively helped to reducing burnout and supporting my mental health.

Anisha Pillarisetty – Deputy Editor | @nihskinsilk

Heading down my final-ish year of the well-trodden double degree of creative writing & literature and journalism, I am still an amateur at avoiding burnout. The tips I’ve been given by well-meaning friends (and various psychologists) all amount to prioritising and allocating time efficiently. For example (they tell me), a task (like writing this blurb) should receive little time and effort, because, unfortunately, in the interest of furthering the government’s neo-liberal economic agenda, precarious (paid) work takes precedence. But rules can also be arbitrary and contextual, so I find myself allocating time and effort to things when I don’t have much of either left. Having said that, I am privileged in many ways; I have at least one rewarding job, occasionally get paid to write, am part of a supportive community, and have various creative outlets that reduce stress. And although it’s the very least I can do – I’ll sign off by reflecting on my responsibility to stand in solidarity with and support those fighting the injustices of our economic and sociopolitical systems. 

Sarah Herrmann – Chief Sub-Editor |@sarahherrmann_

My tip for avoiding burnout and maintaining your mental health is listening to music. Find the genre, artist, album, or playlist that soothes your soul and calms your mind and just put it on while you’re in the shower. Cry, jive, or just sing your lungs out. It’s songs that have an unbreakable joy and hope in their rhythm that never fail to perk me up: 50s tunes, rom-com soundtracks, and even The Wiggles. And so I can focus on their genius lyrics and melodies, my Reminders app is one I’ll never delete. Whether I’m in the shower, on a bus or at a restaurant, I find it much easier to jot down my thoughts and set a time on my trusty phone than wait until I get home and forget to make a note in the diary I never use. Having said that, I am often glued to screens, and that’s not helping my mental health either.

Dani Bozoski – Political Editor |@danibozoski

Being a winter person, ensuring that I stay up to date on my cosy-fulfillment-scale is a must. There is absolutely nothing that grounds and relaxes me more than just sitting back (preferably at a window) with a hot drink, a lit candle, and a short moment to forget about life’s stresses.  I also make sure that I don’t lose touch with my hobbies and interests, particularly during a busy uni semester. For me, that means pulling out my paints or going for a stroll through the library aisles. It reminds me that there is more to life than due dates, as important as they may be. Using the study app Forest is such a great aid in ensuring I am putting in enough work regularly, but without going overboard: an absolute study must-have.

Cassie Taylor – Broadcast Editor | @cassie_tayl

My best tip to prevent burnout is 100 per cent blocking out time for everything on Google Calendar! Time-blocking is when you schedule all your tasks and study breaks into specific time slots during the day, instead of working with a to-do list. I do this on Google Calendar by using multiple calendars and colour coding them. I currently have one each for work, study, volunteering, travel, social events and appointments. By doing this, I can see what I’m doing in a day or week, otherwise I can forget! It also makes sure that I balance my work with social events and fun, and scheduling in breaks is also really important.

Sophie Holder – Social Media Editor | @SophieHolder26

My tip to avoid burnout is simple and doesn’t require a fancy app or method. All you need is a pen and paper, or even just your notes app. At the beginning of each week, I will write out all the things I need to do, and then I write a daily to-do list at the beginning of each day. The best way that I have found to reduce burnout is to keep this list realistic. I make a list of things that I absolutely must do by the end of the day, and then I have a list of “if I get a chance” things to do, which are usually things that are on my “must do” list for the following day. Creating a physical list and being realistic about what can be achieved in a day has massively helped me to stay on top of my work and reduce burnout. 

Crissalen Jumamoy – Multimedia Editor | @Crissalen_

Giving advice on how to avoid a burnout… I personally believe that burnout is inevitable as a university student. But as an extrovert, the best advice I can give is hanging out with friends between uni commitments – even if those hangouts include a study night in the library. Having your life bombarded by work may feel like the only option sometimes, but your social life should be equally prioritised. An app I would recommend for organisation is Notion. As a nerd for visuals, I completely understand the hype around the app, and I feel like my life has changed since downloading it. Being more organised and making it aesthetically pleasing? Sign me up.

If you need help managing burnout, other mental health issues, or just need to talk, UniSA provides a free and confidential counselling service.

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