With pending deadlines of assignments, midterms and other personal projects, it’s easy to feel burnt out. I always joke that burnout has been a recurring theme in my undergraduate career and now as a second/last semester graduate student. However, most students don’t necessarily know that they are feeling burnout. Let me ask you, dear reader, these questions.
- Have you been feeling irritable or lethargic?
- Have you been sleeping too much or too little?
- Do you sometimes cry a lot uncontrollably?
- Do you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter?
I know that these questions sound a lot like depression. But burnout can certainly coincide and lead to depressive symptoms.
To define the term of burnout, according to HelpGuide, burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. In English: Maybe the reason you can’t get out of bed with your alarm going off twenty times in the morning, is because you feel so tired due to stress. You don’t have enough energy to keep up with the times and this can lead to feeling apathetic. I just want to reiterate that there are many types of burnout, but for simplicity purposes, I’m talking about burnout in the academic sense. There’s also job burnout, creative burnout among other types.
The simplest way to cure burnout is through self-care. Why? Well, when you take the time to self-reflect, and enjoy life in the moment while recognizing you’re a work in progress, you’ll likely find the root cause of your stress. Some of us wait too late until we’re knee deep in burnout. No shame to anyone who has been in such a situation. However, what happens when we feel burnout and don’t realize it until the last minute is that our perception on everything changes. In retrospect, you start to have a cynical mindset and it shows up in your attitude, the way you treat other people and ultimately, the way you feel and treat yourself. You might feel guilty if what I’m describing resonates with you. But this article is not to shame you. It’s to give you clarity and recognize what to do moving forward. While I won’t cover steps to overcoming burnout in this post, I will say recognizing the toxic effects of burnout is the first step to change.