Being a college student is already hard enough. But with the added stress of a global pandemic, online classes, spending all day staring at a screen, and not being able to see our friends as much, many of us are extremely burned out. This semester has proven to be very challenging as many students are basically teaching themselves and attempting to meet deadlines. Staying on top of work has been a huge struggle because our lives seem to have no structure anymore. Nevertheless, this semester is slowly, but surely coming to end. With only a few weeks left to go many of us are preparing for finals, projects, and any other necessary work. Nonetheless, some of us are already so burned out at this point. Burnout is a dangerous thing as it can impact an individual on an emotional, physical, and academic level. It is important to recognize that feeling burned out is completely normal and it is something that everyone experiences. However, feelings of burnout that persist for long periods of time should not be normalized. Chronic burnout is extremely detrimental and needs to be dealt with. As a student, I know how hard it can be to overcome burnout, but I promise that you'll feel much better when you deal with your feelings of exhaustion. Here are 7 ways you can deal with your burnout right now while you wrap up the semester and prepare for finals.
Spend an hour doing something you truly love.
When we are burned out, we often fall into a pattern of simply completing task after task. It feels like there is an overwhelming amount of work to do and not enough time to finish it all. However, this behavior can put you in a rut where you end up feeling uninspired, unmotivated, and discouraged. One of the best ways to deal with these feelings is to take a break and spend an hour or so doing something you truly love and that brings you peace. And by something, I mean something not related to school or work. Whether it be watching an episode (or two) of your favorite show, reading a book, journaling, yoga, or simply calling up your best friend, stepping away from your work can do wonders for your productivity. It resets your brain and refreshes your spirit. It might feel like you are wasting time, but it is just as important to make time for the things you love and that make you happy.
Get some exercise in.
Working out is a great form of stress release for many people. Just be sure not to overdo it. Working out 3-5 times a week will definitely boost your productivity and help you get out of a slump. When you workout, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that cause you to feel good. Therefore, exercising can be a great source of relief and you will actually feel more energized when you sit down to work again. So blast those tunes and get that workout in!
Try practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a practice that helps you stay in the moment. It is extremely beneficial and an effective strategy for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and feelings of burnout. According to Mayo Clinic, "Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation of judgment...Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. It can also make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you." There are plenty of mindfulness tutorials online and on Youtube. Although it might take some practice, using mindfulness will definitely help you deal with burnout.
Talk to someone you trust.
Burnout stems from being overworked and overwhelmed. Holding these feelings can be very draining and exhausting on a mental level. Sometimes the only way to deal with these feelings is to reach out and talk to someone. Although this idea doesn't seem very revolutionary, I think people tend to underestimate how helpful it can be to talk to a trusted individual. Whether it be your parents, best friend, counselor, therapist, etc. we all need someone to vent to. There are many resources offered through college such as CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). Please seek help if you feel like you are unable to deal with your emotions in a healthy manner.
Set realistic, achievable goals.
As students, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the assignments we have to complete and all the exams we have to study for. The best way to deal with these feelings is to manage your time and your assignments. However, it can be very daunting to approach a giant pile of work especially if you've been procrastinating due to your burnout. The best way to deal with this is to set reasonable goals. For example, designate 2-3 tasks that you can accomplish per day. This way you will still be getting work done, but you will also stay motivated and avoid getting discouraged. By setting achievable goals you will be able to bounce out of a burnout rut and get back on track.
We all experience burnout in one way or another, but it's important to acknowledge these feelings and learn how to deal with these emotions in a healthy way. Remember, nothing is as important and as valuable as your mental health and well-being. While these last few weeks of the semester are going to be rough, especially given the current situation, I firmly believe that these tips will help you deal with your burnout as you prep for finals. Good luck and remember you got this!