What It's Like To Burn Out In College

What It's Like To Burn Out In College

Reigniting your flame.

What does it mean to burn out? Burning out is a term used to explain a period of time where an individual is exhausted and loses motivation for their job, schooling, and other activities. I didn’t think that such a thing could affect me, but it did. I was naïve, I took a plate that was too full, too heavy, for me to handle. I took on school, the honors program, writing, working 24+ hours a week, and still managed to have a social life. But for what?

Earlier this week I noticed that I was more overwhelmed than usual. I have an anxiety disorder so I initially dismissed my symptoms as that, but I was wrong. I was panicky, nauseous, exhausted and felt extremely depressed. So depressed and unmotivated that I didn’t care to do my work or watch TV or do anything for that matter. I wanted to lay in bed and be untouched. I felt horrible, more horrible than I had ever felt before and for the first time in my life, I asked for help. I sent my advisor at school an email. She agreed to meet with me and I carried on the rest of the week as best as I could.

When I met with my advisor she had me explain to her how I was feeling. I told her I was unmotivated, that I was angry and irritable and I told her I was exhausted. Beyond exhausted. She looked at me and I could tell that she was concerned. I continued to talk to her about my week until she eventually looked at me and said, “Well, of course you feel this way, you’re burning out.”

When she said that I swear I felt like my heart had stopped. When I think of someone burning out I think of a middle aged man or woman who has worked at the same job for years. Most of these thoughts are based on the countless movies I’ve watched, but still, I never associate burning out with a freshman in college. It felt kind of bad to hear her say that. I felt as if I was doing something wrong because in my opinion, I wasn’t doing too much in my life. In fact, I thought I wasn’t doing enough.

My advisor quickly explained that it’s normal to burn out, no matter what age you’re at and the more I look into it, the more I realize she’s right. Burning out is fine. You have so much going on in your life and it’s normal to be exhausted. Most importantly, it’s okay to be exhausted. I know that they say that life will stop for no one but if you need a break, take it. At the end of the day, your health is the most important thing and you cannot succeed if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Burning out is a horrible feeling to endure, so if you feel like life continues to take your breath away, stop and take a breather and reignite your flame.

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How We Can Help Millennials With Mental Illnesses

Make Mental Health Less Taboo.

Over the course of my childhood, there have been people here and there who, including myself, have suffered from various mental illnesses. But recently, as I began college, I noticed more and more people having to deal with severe mental issues. Why is this happening? Were they always there and I just noticed? Or are we at that age where our brains are put under so much pressure that they cannot handle it without some type of medication?

This is a subject that has bothered me for a while. In high school, I had to tip-toe around others to hide that I'm dealing with things like anxiety and depression. But in college, as you are scrolling through your social media accounts, there are many jokes that normalize these mental illnesses. They become those "relatable" memes that everyone "likes." These memes include "funny" captions like "Netflix and Avoid People"

or "Me to me," with Kermit the frog talking to himself about self-destructive behaviors.

Not that comic relief isn't a good thing, but that makes it so normal that people don't understand the actual amount of suffering that happens while you are experiencing mental illnesses. There are "funny" memes where there are fake text messages saying phrases such as "I'm in the middle of a mental breakdown, you? / Just got through a mental breakdown."

While this is light, the main issue isn't addressed. Why are millennials (people approximately 18-early 30s) suffering from these mental illnesses?

My theory is that as we develop into adults, much like a sorting hat, it seems we are each assigned a battle to fight as we develop into who we are supposed to be. Maybe we are healthy children, but the habits we develop as adults cause some type of mental or physical illness.

According to an article for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

"Millennials are often referred to as the 'anxious generation.' They were the first to grow up with the constant overflow of the Internet and social media. The Internet can make life better, but it can also make life complicated, as Millennials often compare their personal and professional achievements to everyone else’s. This can result in low self-esteem and insecurity."

The article is right about social media causing low self esteem. I know when I was growing from a teen into an adult, I started to want to be friends with certain people because they looked "cool" on Facebook and Instagram. I diminished my achievements because it didn't seem "good enough" to match everyone else's. I'm not saying social media causes that actual chemical imbalance that is a mental illness, but it certainly doesn't help it.

Also, as I said before, maybe it's the fact that we are given more pressure somewhere, starting from the most important year in high school- junior year -and all throughout college when we are trying to figure out our career paths. We have deadlines, are expected to manage our time between rest, work, school, maintaining appearance and a social life. I know for a FACT if you have no social life, and I've had that, it can lead to depression; a socal life is just as important as the other parts of life.

I like to reference the mental and emotional health pyramid, also known as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:

The pyramid is not properly taught growing up and should be included in the school health curriculum. Now I'm not saying that knowing all these things will actually deter the medical problem that is mental illness, but it will give you at least an idea of what important factors to focus on in your life. Also, therapy is still a taboo subject. Therapy is not just for people with mental illnesses; it is like having a life coach. And it is all about you. THAT is what needs to be normalized. WHY so many people experience health problems at this age; I'm not a doctor so I don't know, but we can help each other by opening a discussion about it.

Cover Image Credit: geralt / Pixabay

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The 5 Best iPhone Fitness Apps

I'm workin' on my fitness.

Turns out, your phone can be used for more than just scrolling through Instagram or endless online shopping (Although, let’s be real, many of us would be fine if that were all it could do). There is a plethora of health and fitness apps on the market, that, when used correctly, can be very beneficial in one’s journey to a healthier lifestyle. If you are anything like me, I am obsessed with finding (cheap) new apps that somehow enhance my life. And when it comes to health and fitness, these are the 5 best ones that I have found so far:

1. Yoga Studio: Mind & Body

Price: $1.99 per month

There are many things to love about Yoga Studio. The session lengths range from 10 minutes to 60 minutes and target specific areas such as balance and flexibility. My favorite thing about the app is the fact that the yoga for beginners is actually possible for a beginner to do. It is challenging enough to be worth it, but not so difficult for a beginner that it is discouraging. The intensity of the sessions goes all the way up to advanced, and there are classes for certain things such as back pain, deep relaxation, and even prenatal yoga. You can also make your own classes by selecting the poses that you like. You can create a yoga schedule on the app and even link it to the apple health app.

2. Fooducate

Price: Free

Fooducate is a fantastic app. You can search for or scan the bar code of almost food item and the Fooducate app will assign that food a grade, ranging from D to A, based on how healthy it is overall. There are detailed explanations as to why certain foods or brands receive that grade, along with all of the nutritional information of that food, and a list of healthier alternatives. You can also track your caloric intake on the app and find free diet tidbits and healthy recipes.

3. Nike+ Run Club

Price: Free

Nike Run Club must be the best app on the market for runners. The most basic quick start feature tracks how far you run and how long it takes, but the app has many more features. It shows you specifics about your route, pace, and splits. There are also guided runs, where you have a coach in your ear, and you can pick a running plan that lasts either 4 weeks, 8 weeks, or up until an upcoming race. The app has challenges and personal achievements. Music can be played through the app.

4. Meal Time

Price: Free, with some recipes premium.

Mealime is a simple app to navigate with a multitude of healthy recipes, most of them free. You set your eating preferences and can build a personalized meal plan or just check out the recipes. The app details the cookware needed along with the ingredients and instructions needed to make the dish. It is easy to save your favorite recipes so that you can cook them again and again.

5. Sworkit: Abs & Core

Price: Free

While it’s mother app, Sworkit: Workouts & Plans, is not free, this mini-version is. You can select if you want to focus on abs or back strength, as well as the duration of the session, which can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. A Person appears on the screen to demonstrate the workouts while a voice-over talks you through it.

Cover Image Credit: We Know Your Dreams

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