Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the world and yourself, and of course you want to work to make the world a better place as you do so. Then you remember that you need some cash even when you are learning and volunteering and a job gets thrown into the mix. Before you know it, you are going to start feeling more than a little frazzled! The truth of the matter is that no matter how good your intentions are, you’ll find that you are going to get stretched more than you want to be. How can you make sure that you don’t burn out?
Learn To Say No
Saying no is tough, but it is something that you need to learn to do, especially if you are invested in volunteering. Assume that there is always something that needs to be done, no matter how much you work today or how much you work tomorrow. Your ability to say no may feel cruel, but the truth is that you are saving your energies so that you can continue to do good work in the future. Say no if a favor is inconvenient, or if your workplace is being presumptuous about your good will.
Even if you are someone who keeps track of things in your head, it will never hurt to keep a written schedule around. Pick up a small date book and use it to keep track of where you need to be and when. This allows you to make plans without worrying that you have forgotten about something while you were working or volunteering. Remember that while your schedule may be flexible, you should always make sure that you keep it consistent for your own sake. Remember that you should always build some time into your schedule. For example, if you can make it from work to school in ten minutes on your best day, make sure that you allot 20 minutes to get where you need to go. You won’t always be having a great day where traffic is on your side!
Sleep is not negotiable. If something is asking you to stay awake longer or to get up earlier than you usually do, it should be exceptional. You need to make the time to sleep, or you will find yourself burning out at an exceptional rate. If you are studying abroad in a place that is very distant from home, it might take you a few days or even a few weeks to get really comfortable with the time shift, but the faster you do this, the better. No matter how much sleep you need, whether it is six hours or ten, make sure you get it.
If you are in a study abroad program, there is a student liaison that is meant to help you get settled. Especially during the first few weeks, it is easy to feel as if the whole world has shifted around you. Contact your liaison if you feel that you are having a rough time of it. They may be able to help you get settled, and they also will be able to help if you need more serious aid, like counseling or medical care. If you want to avoid burnout, remember that you are not in it alone!
Between working and volunteering on top of studying in a new environment, you may find that it is very easy to start skipping meals or to grab meals that are not necessarily healthy for you. The truth is that this will cause you to feel tired and irritable over time. Think about the food that you want to eat and start planning it. It takes time and effort to make or purchase good food, but it is worth it in the end. It will give you the energy that you need to keep going. Another thing to remember is that you should snack whenever you think about it. A small snack that is high in simple sugars and starch can help you stay awake and alert for the things that you need to do.
If you are working, volunteering and going to school, there are a lot of people involved. The truth is that people are depending on you, and it is important to keep that in mind. The way that you can keep everyone on the same page is by being open and honest about what you are doing. Make sure that everyone understands your schedule, and that if you say that you have to leave by a certain time that you mean it. It can be a little nerve-wracking to make sure that everyone knows what they need to know, particularly if you are shy, but at the end of the day, it is entirely worth it.