Power Through or Take a Break? What to do when you’re burned out from EPPP test prep

Work is piling up and the to-do list isn’t getting shorter. You want to take a break but there’s no break in sight. Maybe EPPP test prep is one of many things you have on your plate and it takes everything in you to power through another study session.

Feeling like you have nothing left to give is a sign that you are experiencing burnout. And continuing to power through feeling burned out can not only leave you tired, but it can impact your health.

Psychology Today addresses the signs of burnout in an article called 5 Signs You’re Burnt Out at Work: how to know when you need a break by Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D.:

“Burnout is, in part, just feeling like you have nothing left to give. Chronic burnout can lead to emotional issues and a decline in physical health.”

The decline in physical health and road to emotional issues is due to the way your mind and body reacts to exhaustion. Sarkis says:

“Your body is really good at giving you a heads-up – you just need to listen to it. Then believe what it is trying to tell you. If you have the tendency to stuff your feelings down, you may notice physical symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, aches and pains, and headaches may happen more often. The mind has a great deal of influence over the body, and the chronic stress of burnout can really do a number on your physical health.”

While you may be able to summon the energy to continue studying and ignore the early signs of needing rest, such as tiredness, you brain will eventually clue your body into the exhaustion it is experiencing. If you have made a habit of powering through tiredness, clue into the signals your body gives you such as nausea and headaches in order to know when you’re experiencing burnout and should take time to rest.

Physical clues are not the only clues our brains give us when we experience burnout. We can oftentimes look to our behavior to know when it is time to take a step back.

When burned out, you are more likely to act out of character. Sarkis gives a few examples such as how you might snap at others when you are normally calm, or have an apathetic attitude towards work when you are typically more eager to get work done. Or you might be easily distracted when you are typically focused.

Another article from Psychology Today by Paula Davis-Laack, M.A.P.P, called 9 Warning Signs of Burnout: Learn the specific signs and symptoms of overwhelm gives some other signs of burnout such as the following:

  • Being unable to think of anything to look forward to. This can be a sign of hopelessness which can be linked to depression. If this is the case, seek help. Ultimately, depression is one way burnout can lead to emotional issues.
  • Seeing any “curve ball” as a “major crisis.” For example, looking up at the clock after hours of EPPP test prep and realizing you are late to a meeting. Typically, you might calmly call the organizer of the meeting and explain that you will be there late but soon. In a case where you are burned out, you might handle the situation with a much greater amount of anxiety.
  • Cynicism. You might see yourself noticing the raindrops instead of the rainbow. Being burned out can make us feel like we cannot do anything right or that we have too much to do.

Often it feel like there is no way out of being burned out. In fact, Davis-Laack points out that “burnout and depression often get confused with each other because their symptoms are the same.” When you notice the signs of burnout, there are action steps to take in order to get back on track and start enjoying your workload again.

First ask yourself if you are trying to do everything perfectly. Perfectionists are typically the type to become burned out more easily because they focus more energy on making sure everything is at its best as opposed to leaving things in a state of “good enough.” Thankfully, there is no need for perfectionism in EPPP test prep. There is no perfect way to learn something, there is only the best way for your learning style. TSM has tools to tailor a study schedule to your learning style and daily availability to study.

When it comes to the question of powering through another study session or taking a break, reflect on what your body is telling you. If you are burned out, it’s time to take a break and then, after much rest, take a look at your schedule to incorporate breaks regularly. You should take breaks doing something your body needs and doing something you love. Take a nap or get out and play. Do something fun that fills you. Play a pick-up game of soccer, shoot some hoops, or go for a run. Do something for the pure fun of it. This will not only relax you but your brain will, in a way, recharge itself and get geared up for your next study session.


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