According to helpguide.org, burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
As a college student, burnout is something that occurs to us all. We may call it different things like exhaustion or senioritis, but in reality, it's more than that. It's a toll on the mind and the body and taking the time to get the help and rest you need to prevent such an occurrence should not be a bad thing.
I used to write for the Odyssey my freshman year of college. That was 4 years ago, for anyone who doesn't know. I was 18, and there were deadlines we had to meet every week for posts. I wasn't getting paid, so why was I stressing out over creating content every week? I eventually stopped writing and then, randomly decided to look up my old account to see if I could even make posts any longer. Surprisingly, it let me in.
I'm not complaining about the workload, that's the farthest thing from. However, as an 18 year old freshman, I was cranking out content that was getting worse every week. I was tired and running out of ideas.
I was experiencing burnout, but there wasn't a word for it, at least not in my mind. I just knew I was stressed and I knew what was causing my stress, so I quit writing and actually stopped completely, unless it was for school.
What can we do to prevent burnout? What can we do to help once we are burnt out? It's not really as hard as you might think.
Often times, our stress is related to work. I know for myself, I work for Girl Scouts, which I love, but I'm always on my email refreshing to make sure I don't miss anything, even if that means sacrificing time with friends. I could be in the same room as them, and it won't matter. I'm still glued to my screen.
Taking an hour, two hours, maybe one night a week to turn off your computer or putting down the phone can greatly reduce stress. I now tell myself that after 6pm, I am not reachable via email and I will not respond until morning. (Unless it's about event planning. Those cannot wait, unfortunately.) I try to ignore calls and texts for an hour a night and just unwind. I found a new renewed love for reading and i try to read a chapter a night for myself.
There isn't one way to unplug. It's different for everyone. Trying to find one that works for you is always worth the try!
Take a walk
Taking a walk or exercising can help get you back on track and feeling refreshed. I personally like to do yoga, as it relaxes me and helps me stretch out my back and knees. It gives me something to focus on rather than what is causing my stress. As a senior in college, not only am i stressed about school, but graduation, grad school, getting employed, the list goes on. Getting out of your dorm or your house can help you greatly, by helping clear your head and to give you a break from the mundane.
Take some time with friends
Spending time with other people to vent and to relax is one of the best things i ever did for myself last spring. I was taking a course that would make or break my college career. We had to write our capstone project, and without a passing grade on the hardest course i ever took, which was a 400 level course mind you, I wouldn't be walking in May. During my editing of my final draft, i had a 8 hour breakdown because the stress and the pressure was too high. My college has an event every so often called the moonlight breakfast, where they feed us pancakes till midnight. I sent in my final draft and went to the event, still mid breakdown.
Being able to see other people and to vent about my anxieties was the best thing I could have done for myself. I removed myself from the cause and got to spend a night with people who cared about my well being. Without them, i would have gone insane from the stress. (For those who are wondering I got an 89 in the class, so win win for me.)
Burn out can be scary and it can make things seem terrible. But finding what works well for you can make your life so much easier in the long run.