Merriam Webster defines burnout as, "the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time." This describes almost all college students at this point in the semester. Thanksgiving break is so close yet so far away. As I walk by the fifth person I have seen in the Library face down asleep into a textbook, I wonder what we can do to prevent this. What can we do to feel refreshed enough to make it to the end of the semester?
Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Robert Segal, M.A. wrote an article on Help Guide. Org that helps us to understand this more. They report on warning signs of burn out, physical symptoms of it, and causes for it among other things. Their way to combat burnout focuses on 3 Rs.
"Recognize – Watch for the warning signs of burnout
Reverse – Undo the damage by managing stress and seeking support
Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health"
First you need to recognize that you are, in fact, experiencing burn out. Have your goals shifted from getting straight As to getting As and Bs to maybe just a couple Cs to just wanting to pass? Are you tired literally all the time? Can you even remember a time when you weren't tired? Do you feel like no matter how much you study or try, you aren't going to get a good grade anyway? Do you find yourself withdrawing from your responsibilities? Do you feel like there is always something you should be doing and never have a moment to yourself? Are you skipping a lot more class than you should? These are all warning signs of burnout.
The next step that is suggested is to reverse the damage done. The website linked has a lot of helpful solutions. My advice would be to get organized. Invest in a planner and plan out all of the papers, tests, quizzes, and assignments you still have left and plan a date to start working on them. This will help you not procrastinate which will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Starting on your work a couple days before it is due can be extremely helpful when it comes to your mental health. If you are feeling extremely burnt out and don't feel like you can manage it on your own, seek help. This can come in many forms. You could confide in a friend to get all your worries and stresses off of your chest. Venting is a good way to relieve stress. You can also seek a more formal form of help at your schools counseling center. They are very knowledgeable there and have materials and advice that can really help you.
Lastly you need to build up your resilience. This means taking care of yourself. Find something that calms you. Maybe take a few exercise classes or design a workout routine. Being active can improve both your physical and emotional health. Take time to treat yourself. Do little things for you. Get some frozen yogurt, buy that item that you have had your eye on for awhile, take a nap, go get a massage. Do things to help you not get this burnt out in the future. Next semester register for less hours or easier classes. If this isn't an option try to take classes with a friend so you will have someone to help you stay on top of your work. Taking some time to build relationships will also provide you with the social support you need to stay emotionally healthy.
We can make it y'all, we are so close. Hang in there and finish strong. It could be worse. Have a great semester!
Here are some cute puppy pictures. Therapy dogs are a thing.