In these recent days without having a spring break, it is clear just how much the CUA community needed one. So many students are experiencing similar feelings of exhaustion (physical and mental), detachment, ineffectiveness, and lack of accomplishment. According to Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter from Psychology Today, these are all feelings that are associated with burnout. Burnout is considered a type of chronic stress that is caused by overworking yourself, particularly in long periods without breaks. Burnout isn’t caused overnight; slowly, we overwork and over-stress our way into burnout. It is challenging to avoid these beginning feelings of burnout when the semester continues on without any days off. However, when you begin to feel the symptoms there are several ways to take a break and de-stress.
- Practice Self-Care
Spend a night just focusing on yourself! Leave behind the stress of school and work and take time to do a face mask, paint your nails, and watch a good rom-com.
- Take Small Breaks
When you have a 5 page research paper due and three midterms to study for, it can easily feel overwhelming and impossible. Give yourself small breaks when working on big projects. Take a couple of minutes to breathe and refocus- take a short walk or make yourself a cup of tea. Or, give yourself the rest of the night off and begin studying again in the morning.
- Spend Time with Friends in a Non-Academic Setting
During the middle of midterms week, it’s easy for your only interactions with friends to become studying and stressing out together. Plan a night to put the books away and focus on being completely present with your friends. Perhaps a self care night with the girls?
- Find Something You Are Passionate About
Take time to focus on something you enjoy. If you love doing it, it won’t feel like a chore. Maybe start painting again or join your campus’s HerCampus chapter and start writing. Or try something completely new and discover a new hobby. Allow yourself to take productive breaks while still doing something that you enjoy.
While the feelings of burnout can feel overwhelming and consuming, remember that you are allowed to take time for yourself and focus on your mental health. If you’re experiencing full-fledged burnout, please reach out to a mental health professional. There are plenty of resources to help you de-stress and find motivation. Taking steps to deal with the feelings of burnout is incredibly important. Burnout can lead to various consequences. These consequences can be anything from insomnia and sadness to high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Take the steps that you need to be your best self.
After about eight straight weeks of school, it seems like everyone around campus is experiencing some level of burnout. I am included in this. For the past week, after midterms were done and papers were submitted, I was unable to motivate myself to do almost everything. Seeing upcoming assignments and due dates didn’t stress or phase me. Instead, I was numb. I would sit down to do homework and proceed to do absolutely nothing. After noticing this tendency, I realized that something needed to change. It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen instantly, but I began to fight the feelings of burnout. I needed to take time to remember why I was working so hard and why I cared about my degree. I began to make time for myself and refocus on taking care of myself. Slowly, I’ve begun to find more motivation.
It’s not easy, but you can mitigate the feelings of burnout. You’re not alone in this. You deserve a break to take time for yourself.