Getting in the flow

See how you can improve your academic skills and avoid burnout.

Did you know?

Stress is a word that is often misunderstood. Stressors are pressures, challenges or demands that are placed on us both physically and emotionally that require a response. Without some stress or pressure we would not:

  • perform well
  • be motivated to act
  • make changes in our lives.

Often we feel stress when we are overwhelmed, under pressure and feel like we can’t cope—which isn’t pleasant or desirable.

Positive stress measure
Positive stress is when you are doing a desirable task that you need all of your skills and resources to complete.

Getting into the flow of things

Recognise what skills you need

There are many skills that can help you get into flow. Sometimes it is hard for university students to get into flow because you need to work on your academic skills that support your learning.

Developing your academic skills helps you feel less overwhelmed and ready to take action. You may have those skills, but need to take care of yourself a little bit better.

Rate yourself

Read the following list of academic and personal skills, then, rate your current skill level from 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent).

  1. understanding how you learn, and creating a study routine
  2. researching and reading effectively
  3. critical thinking—can you take what you have learned, evaluate it, and apply it to a variety of contexts and problems
  4. assignment writing
  5. managing your time
  6. recognising when you are feeling stressed, tired, or overwhelmed
  7. using positive coping techniques when under pressure
  8. allocating times to work on university study, and switching off when it is not those times.

How did you rate yourself in questions 1–5?

These questions helped you reflect on some of your academic skills. If you recognise a need to improve any of these skills, check out the resources below or contact Student Learning to make an appointment.

How did you rate yourself in questions 6–8?

These questions assessed some of self-care skills. We all feel stress at times, find out how you can:

Understanding burn out

Everyone has a limit to how much stress and pressure they can handle. Our tolerance to stressors (things in life that cause stress) is dependent on:

  • your ability to recognise when you are feeling stress and respond with positive self-care strategies
  • life circumstances
  • social support networks
  • resilience.

Breakdown or burn out happens when we are under unmanageable stress for too long. We feel burnt out because in times of great stress, our bodies produce large quantities of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) which, after a while, makes us feel tired, hungover and prone to illness.

Importance of daily recovery

When people are under pressure they can forget to do the things they know they should do to stay well. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating nutrient rich food and connecting with others, are some behaviours that can disappear during these times.

Ensure you prioritise physical and emotional recovery daily by embedding self-care strategies into your daily life.