Although fulfilling, language learning can also be a rigorous and intense experience that brings about stress and exhaustion. Those studying Japanese are no exception, as their initial curiosity and sense of improvement tend to dwindle over time, and they are left stuck as they feel they are progressing too slowly or not making any progress at all.
It is important to know that this is normal when studying any language as students generally make considerable progress in the early stages and plateau once they get to the more challenging concepts. As such, here are our four best to help you avoid getting burnt out and stay on course in your Japanese studies.
If you feel like you are getting burned out from your Japanese studies, it is important to first take stock of where you are weakest and which aspect of your studies means the most to you regarding progress. The latter naturally requires going back to the initial reason why you wanted to pick up Japanese in the first place. If you want to watch anime with no need for subtitles, then listening would be the answer. If it is reading untranslated Japanese novels or manga, then reading takes priority.
From there, getting specific about your frustration is vital, such as mixing up kanji all the time, not remembering advanced grammar concepts, or anything else. Doing so lets you pinpoint your frustrations into one or two key things so you can determine the best solutions to them, thus mitigating burnout.
However, if you are reaching the point where even the thought of getting back to your studies seems unappealing, just know that others have been there too. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get past this blasé feeling, as discussed in the following section.
4 ways to avoid feeling burnt out
1. Use Japanese instead of studying it
Not every aspect of studying will be enjoyable at all times. As such, a good way to get a change of pace is to use Japanese for fun instead. Whether exploring J-Pop and other genres of Japanese music, tuning to local shows, watching anime, discovering Japan’s many traditions or anything else, experiencing how far you have come since the start of your learning journey through fun activities can do wonders at alleviating burnout. Doing something fun lets your brain get some rest while still keeping it in learning mode as you apply and review everything you have learned so far.
2. Take a step back by refreshing easier material
Another excellent way to give your brain some rest is to study past materials, as it will not be as difficult as taking in new content and helps solidify your foundational knowledge. Try going over past concepts whenever you feel bogged down by new ones so you can keep working on your studies and avoid staying at a roadblock for too long. Just like the previous tip, going over easier materials is also a great confidence booster for the same reasons.
3. Focus on your specific frustrations
Determining what is frustrating you in your studies (and thus increasing your burnout) and quickly resolving them as soon as possible is important to deter burnout. In most cases, the reason for hitting such walls in your studies comes down to your study methods. If that is the case, consider the following steps:
- Go over your past study methods.
- Determine which ones you liked and disliked the most.
- For the ones you like, did they prove beneficial in your studies? How so, and are there any that you stopped using?
- For the ones you disliked, why did you include them in your routine, and did they benefit you in any way? If they do work and you still use these methods without enthusiasm, what can you do to make them more enjoyable?
These serve to identify your study preferences since learning is, as you may already know, much easier done if it is interesting or enjoyable for the student. For example, maybe you love video games but when playing in the Japanese language setting, nothing sticks for you. Then, how are you using video games as a learning tool? What changes can you make to get more out of playing games in Japanese? These are the sorts of things you must figure out.
4. Explore new ways of learning
A lack of variety can also be one of the main causes of the onset of burnout. If that is the case, you should try other learning techniques as soon as possible. For instance, if you have been practising your conversational skills by yourself or with other Japanese language students, perhaps you may consider participating in a language exchange and talking with a native Japanese person instead. Or if your grammar and vocabulary studies have all been through textbooks, perhaps trying out sentence mining can give you that fresh new experience to switch things up.
Learning Japanese is certainly no walk in the park, but it is not impossible either. With enough effort and perseverance, anyone can reach the fluency levels they’re aiming for and well beyond. As such, whenever you feel burnt out, consider following the tips above and anything else you think may help. The most important thing to do whenever you are in this state is to never stop altogether to avoid going back to square one. But if you do happen to take a break, check out these post-hiatus study tips!
Should you ever need help with your Japanese studies, our Japanese language courses may be just what you need! For those looking for a good Japanese language school in Singapore, Japanese Explorer puts you on the fast track towards your study goals as our native Japanese teachers and personalised teaching methods will guide you every step of the way.
Don’t hesitate to contact us and get started with your Japanese lesson in Singapore today!