As the quarter is drawing to a close, assignments are piling up in every class. I know I have personally been feeling overwhelmed as have most of the people around me. It’s that time of the year where we are trying to study for finals, finish up projects and write final papers, in addition to trying to stay healthy and catch up with friends and family.
Sometimes we may be feeling like we have too much to do and so little time to do it. Small tasks may seem daunting and the thought of getting out of bed in the morning may sound like the hardest thing you have ever had to do. If this sounds like I am describing you, there is a chance you may be experiencing burnout.
What is burnout??
We all have heard the term burnout before, but what exactly is it? According to Helpguide.org, burnout refers to being exhausted emotionally, physically, and mentally. This exhaustion can come from the stress that has been severe or has lasted a significant period. Burnout is your brain and body telling you that you have been stressed too much and have too many activities trying to vie for your attention. It is your body’s way of saying “we need a break!”
While the definition of burnout is good to know, it doesn’t really tell us how to tell if you are feeling burnout. There are many symptoms of burnout and each person experiences this exhaustion differently. However, there are a few symptoms that I have listed here to help you determine if you are experiencing burnout.
Are you constantly exhausted no matter how much sleep you get?
A common symptom of burnout is exhaustion. When you have too much stress, it can be difficult to shut your mind off and take time to relax and sleep. The rest you get may not be deep sleep and leave you feeling groggy and tired after you wake up. It may also be difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
Do you feel unmotivated?
While exhaustion plays a part in this symptom as well, feeling unmotivated is key to burnout. I find it hard to do anything when I am experiencing this. A lot of the time people will avoid tasks or activities because they can’t find the energy to do them. This also can happen with activities people love doing. Perhaps you absolutely love reading yet the idea of choosing a book and focusing on the words seems unbearable.
Have you been irrationally irritable or overly emotional?
Many times, when we are overwhelmed, we struggle to regulate our emotions. Exhaustion, stress and low energy all contribute to feeling emotional. You may not even know you are overwhelmed until you snap at your best friend for something insignificant.
Tips and Tricks for Recovery
A great way to help yourself feel less stressed is to make a list of priorities. Consider all the tasks you have and decide what actually has to get done that day. Making a smaller list of tasks will make it easier to tackle. If something isn’t necessary to do, save it for a later date. Only put important items on your list.
Do something for yourself
Relieve some stress by focusing on yourself. Take some time away from studying to do some form of self-care. What you choose to do is up to you but make sure it is calming and makes you feel good. Some of my favorite things to do are meditate, listen to podcasts, and take a bath. No matter what you end up doing, fully immerse yourself in the activity and fully focus on what you are doing.
Take care of your body
Burnout can take a toll on your health. When you are feeling down remember to take care of your body. Eat healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, and eat meals throughout the day. Grab your favorite bottle and drink water throughout the day. Also, make sure to get some exercise in. Go to the gym, go outside and take a walk, or even do an at-home routine to get your blood flowing.
There are times in life when you have too much to do and everything becomes too much to handle. Don’t feel ashamed of this because every person goes through burnout at least once in their lifetime. Learn what your symptoms are and find what works best for you to get better. Burnout is real and many times we don’t see the signs until we are in the middle of it.
If you are feeling burnout and are finding it too hard to get out of on your own, please talk with a trusted friend, family member or therapist. You are not alone and there are plenty of resources available if you need help.