Students also need vacations
Vacations are also important for students, even if the pressure on livelihoods weighs on their necks.
According to research, students belong to the lowest income group in Finland. Many of them have to get a summer job at the end of every spring semester. Vacations have become a luxury that many of them simply cannot afford.
That is evident from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare's recent survey of the health and wellbeing of university students (KOTT), which found that as many as 39.1% of students believe they could not afford to study without summer jobs or part-time employment.
According to the same survey, over a third of the students also think that their work affects their study progress. That's why it shouldn't be any wonder if the stress levels of students point to red, and as many as one in three students have been diagnosed with mental health problems.
Investment in vacation is an investment in yourself
It's necessary to emphasize that vacations are important for students too - even when the pressure on livelihoods weighs on their necks. The purpose of a vacation is to recover from the stress caused by studying and working. According to several pieces of research, vacations have strong health-maintaining and disease-preventing effects.
Everyone needs to recharge their batteries sometimes. If there is no possibility of a several-week restorative summer vacation, then you should at least consider some alternative ways to relax.
Maybe you could go to a cottage or hiking somewhere in the nature? Or maybe your friends would be up for a picnic or even for a public sauna?
Small everyday moments and pampering yourself are important and you should always have some time for them in your calendar because no one can go on and work and/or study indefinitely.
Studying is difficult to detach from leisure
Mini-holidays and breaks should not be left only during the holidays. Sometimes separating study from leisure time can be challenging, which tends to increase the workload caused by studying. Homework and group work given at the university, as well as taking exams, are easily pushed out of “working hours”.
At the end of the school day, students often reflect on study-related matters well into the evening. Often, even the weekends are reserved for studying. Free time is sacrificed to do homework - and if you happen to dedicate your weekend to recovery for once, guilt and the ticking deadlines haunt your back.
However, mental recovery requires detachment. It’s not enough to leave campus or a job and go home. You also have to be able to not think about studying or working. That being said, without detachment the student may, at worst, become mentally paralyzed, which makes studying more difficult or nearly impossible.
Don't burn yourself out
Burnout and the symptoms of exhaustion are unfortunately familiar to many students.
That is why it is important to learn to identify them in time. Too often, exhaustion develops to burn out secretly and completely unnoticed. That's why it's sometimes good to remind yourself that life isn’t a sprint but a marathon.
In terms of coping, it’s important to listen to yourself and your own well-being, because no one else knows what you feel. It can also be helpful to talk about your well-being and feelings to others, as they may have similar experiences and feelings.
You can also get tips and tools from others to arrange your studies and free time more efficiently.
Above all, it is important to be gracious towards yourself. As the old saying goes, cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people who never needed vacations or breaks.
If you feel tired, it is also good to remember that Haaga-Helia's wellness services exist for you.