You’ve likely got a lot on your mind this time of year: On top of your regular class sessions, department meetings, and social responsibilities, you have papers to grade, exams to administer, and holiday meals to prepare. Without proper self-care, these can become a recipe for burnout.

Thankfully, most of us have a few days off to enjoy before we launch into December. In recognition of this busy time, we’d like to share some tips adapted from the Health CourseMate for Jeffrey S. Nevid and Spencer A. Rathus’ HLTH.  We hope that these ideas provide you with the small nudge you need to keep yourself in balance through the rest of the year!

  1. Stay focused on your priorities. Take stock: are you devoting time to the people, activities, and things that mean the most to you? If not, re-evaluate and re-order your time.
  2. Make goals — but keep them attainable. While it’s good to stretch yourself, it’s unhealthy to maintain goals with outcomes that can’t realistically be achieved with the time or resources at your disposal.
  3. Make progress one step at a time. Don’t burn yourself out in an effort to do it all, all at once.
  4. On that note — don’t be afraid to say “no” to requests. Keep your existing responsibilities in mind, and don’t take on more than you can currently bear. In addition, don’t be afraid to ask for help or to delegate tasks if needed.
  5. Reach out to a confidante. Taking the time to share your concerns and anxieties with a friend can help you release some of the stress you may be feeling.
  6. Nurture your relationships. The support of friends and family can provide a buffer against stress’ negative effects.
  7. Take time to “play.” Make sure every day includes an enjoyable activity, such as a brisk walk, coffee with friends, a visit to a museum… anything that brings you relaxation or happiness.
  8. Don’t neglect “me time.” It may feel selfish, but taking time for yourself gives you a break that provides some energy for the next task at hand.
  9. Take — and enjoy — your vacation time!
  10. Don’t neglect your physical health. If you find yourself tired, achy, irritable, or slightly under the weather, take the time to address those symptoms before the problems are exacerbated.

Reference: Content adapted from Nevid, Jeffrey S. and Rathus, Spencer A. 2013. HLTH. Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.


Post Author: Tami Strang. Tami Strang is a Managing Editor of the Cengage Learning blog. She has extensive experience in higher education publishing, and recently obtained her Masters degree through the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science.