5 tips to beat mid-year VCE burnout

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

The VCE years can test a young person’s mettle like never before. Pressure, stress and fatigue can demand as much of students as any assessment task.

Andrew Fuller, a clinical psychologist who specialises in working with young people, points to a survey of almost 200,000 late-secondary school children as evidence of the strain.

“It showed that 59 per cent of year 11 and 12 young women and 46 per cent of young men in those years suffer clinical levels of anxiety. It’s prolific,” he says.

As students approach the halfway mark of the VCE year, Fuller offers these tips for fending off physical and emotional fatigue:

1. Understand and accept that people are smart in different ways

“It’s not a tragedy if you’re not ‘school smart’ – it’s not because you’re less capable or stupid; you just have a different way of doing things. Many, many people are very successful who weren’t successful at school.”

2. Sleep

“I know it’s very hard when you’re stressed, but if you deprive yourself of sleep, you’re more vulnerable to stress and depression.” For balance, Fuller marries rest with physical activity, “to keep some balance between the head and the body”.

3. Keep a diverse social circle

“Because of the pressure, tension can be borne out of friendship disputes. You want a range of friends, so if somebody goes a bit crazy on you, you’re not on your own.”

4. Take a day off a week

“One of the things I often say to students is you have to specify some time off or you won’t get it. Taking time to refresh and renew is critical – if you don’t take breaks, your brain will take them for you.”

5. Develop a system that works for you

“Think about the times you learn best, and the times you learn least well, and shape your routine around that. Even the world’s best system isn’t going to work all the time – we’re human beings; there are days when we can’t be stuffed. You just need to get back into the system as soon as you can; not beat yourself around the ears when you’ve had a day or two off.”

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