Happy Spring Break! Just kidding. Many students around the world, including myself and others at CLU, aren’t having a spring break this year due to Covid. But, on the bright side, we finish classes a week earlier than normal so we have most of May as a summer holiday, right?
Not only was spring break a time to see friends/family and travel pre-Covid, but it was a time students used to recharge and re-energize for the last few weeks of the year. After spending months endlessly grinding to meet every quiz, essay, and discussion question deadline, spring break acted as a much-needed brain break. It sounds cliche, but being a college student is exhausting. You spend all day in classes plus balancing your personal life, then in the evenings you go back to your laptop and start studying again for hours before finally closing the screen and crawling into bed.
For many students, this leads to college or academic burnout. The World Health Organization has added burnout to the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. They described it as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Symptoms are feeling of exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or negativism, and reduced professional efficacy. So, with no spring break this year, how can we avoid feeling burned out?
Have Time to Yourself
The most important thing I can suggest is to make sure you have time to yourself, every day. Whether it’s a self-care routine or a 30-minute walk or making food that you will enjoy eating, it is so important to include “me time” within a busy schedule. It’s a time where you don’t do any work or anything for another person. It is completely and utterly devoted to you.
Prevent Yourself From Feeling Overwhelmed
Creating a schedule, breaking down tasks, or having a to-do list makes it easier to manage deadlines and makes objectives more achievable. When we think of everything we have to do, it sometimes seems unmanageable when in reality most of the time it can be achieved and we just over-complicated it in our heads.
Protect Your Mental Health
Learn what works for you to keep your mental health feeling its best. Maybe it’s including meditation or yoga into your morning or evening routine. Maybe it’s journaling your thoughts away onto a piece of paper. Maybe it’s talking to someone trustworthy. Experiment with different ways and acknowledge how you feel after each one. Whatever your method is, remember to keep doing it even on the busiest days.
I think naturally humans love interaction and taking on new things to grow and progress. However, if we commit to too many things and stuff our schedule to the minute, it can be draining. Don’t be afraid to say no and remove yourself from certain commitments if you need to lessen the number of plates you’re spinning.
Take a moment to inhale and exhale. Breathing is an amazing way to help control anxiety if you are feeling stressed. It’s also great to help still your mind if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It can even help you feel more energetic and alive if you feel negativity creeping in.
So you’ve noticed you are feeling drained, exhausted, and burned out. You now have the power to change this feeling and re-energize yourself to push through to the end of the semester. Don’t give up now. Although we may not be having an actual spring break, take this as a reminder that you still need to be kind to yourself and make sure you can re-energize a little every day. It may be harder than what you are used to but every late night, every ten-page paper, and every study note card is worth it in the end. Be kind to yourself. Look after yourself. Take some time for yourself.