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Burnouts more frequent...

  Tags: Burn-out
 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
Senior Member
Joined 3911 days ago

163 posts - 207 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Dutch, Portuguese, Esperanto, German, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Polish, Mandarin

 Message 1 of 4
04 November 2015 at 10:35am | IP Logged 
Hi all,

One thing is worrying me: I seem to be "striked" by burnouts more often than I used
to. I had a 2-week burnout in April, where I just didn't want to practice any language
(except my strong languages, which are the focus of my studies), and I had a small
burnout recently. These burnouts seem to happen when I make huge improvements in a
language in a small amount of time (due to massive work), or when I practice all my 8
languages almost on a daily basis for a couple of weeks (though not improving. Just
keeping them active, mostly by listening). I also think that they happen rather when I
also am under pressure at the university, or when I have a small period with more

I was wondering if this meant that I would have a burnout each time I would practice
again a big number of languages? Could this be a sign that my brain is reaching a
limit? Will I have a burnout each time I work on a language intensively while
maintaining all the others? I am currently studying Portuguese, and am more or less
beginning Russian thanks to the Duolingo course, and am afraid of getting a burnout if
I keep on practising my other languages while working for my studies...

Has anyone been through the same experience?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4263 days ago

747 posts - 1123 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 Message 2 of 4
04 November 2015 at 12:58pm | IP Logged 
The problem with any intensive study program is that you tend to force yourself into studying a language. Any kind of structured study is no different than using a textbook. After a while you get "bored". I like to learn with videos online. There are already language tutorials on YouTube. Anything like French in 10 minutes is OK. You are doing it at a slow pace a few times a day so that your brain can absorb the material.

To keep the learning material interesting, I would go online and read news articles in Chinese or other languages like I would be reading an English newspaper. And every once in a while, I would watch a TV program or listen to the radio to keep the material interesting without having to force myself into remembering new words & phrases.

If you really feel burnt out, you can take a week off the language you are having trouble concentrating and begin again later. Every time you start, don't feel that you need to go through the letters of the alphabet, counting numbers or the days of the week. Just pick up from where you left off.

My English and Chinese is at the level I can easily engage in online chats with few mistakes, shopping or order in restaurants. My French is not at the level I feel comfortable engaging in conversations. Having friends online can keep you interested in a language.

Edited by shk00design on 04 November 2015 at 12:59pm

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Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 4828 days ago

3277 posts - 6779 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 Message 3 of 4
04 November 2015 at 4:09pm | IP Logged 
Those burnouts are quite a logical consequence of too much work over a short period of time. But I totally understand sometimes it is better to just cram a bit and than practice than to go slowly a few minutes a day.

what has been helping me (even though I do not know that many languages, true): is possible to study for hours a day. But not with unchanged intensity. Put some relaxing activities (reading a chapter of a book you enjoy, half an episode of a tv series, a song) in between the demanding ones.
2.Know the dose you can digest and don't go any further. Is the maximum dose you can handle without any problem 3 hours a day? Awesome, that is plenty! Or is it more but only for a week? Great, you can slow down after that week for some time again, no need to keep going for three weeks and than burning out.
3.You are not gonna forget a language in a few days. Perhaps practicing every single language of yours every single day is too much. Perhaps some of your languages could survive being enjoyed and maintained just once or twice a week?

No matter what you do, I wish you lots of energy and fun. Fun is probably the only way to not get fed up with something.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4985 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 Message 4 of 4
04 November 2015 at 8:53pm | IP Logged 
I usually have burnouts when I have more intense days at work or when I have other stuff to deal with it that will require some mental space (household, banks, helping others with their studies etc.).My schedule is currently a bit tight but speaking strictly in terms of time I feel better when I pick a new task to do that day than when I just keep surfing the internet idly. I used to study only 3 hours a day and I gradually pushed the limits as I noticed that the further I went in my languages, the more I'd study in less time and the less tired I'be thereafter. I try to alternate different activities, and I tend to to the most essential textbook study in the morning. Watching too much video in a row is what makes me the most tired, so I usually read in two languages then watch videos in other two and so on.

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