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Mental Health

Recognising that you Have Hit a Slump and How to Get over the Burnout

Many of us emerge from the Christmas season feeling rested after a well deserved break, filled with a new-found energy to take on the New Year. 


The beginning of a new year represents so much, it can act as a reset button for people, an opportunity to leave 2020 in our rearview mirror. 


For university students, our new year begins with a new semester and the promises that come along with it: that you will attend every lecture and stop leaving assignments until the night before. 


When we think back, it seems that we say the same things every year, and usually we get off to a good start, but as the semester progresses, those affirmations tend to fall by the wayside. Why is this? 


While there are a lot of explanations behind dwindling motivation at the end of a semester, one reason behind could be that you are suffering from a burnout. 


What is a burnout? A burnout can be defined as “a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations”. 


There is a difference between experiencing a burnout and exhaustion. Anyone can become exhausted but a burnout mainly strikes people who are highly committed to their work: like someone pursuing a university degree.


There are several warning signs you're heading towards a burn out including; having a negative attitude towards university; skipping lectures frequently; having low energy and little interest in assignments; feeling empty and; being easily irritated. 


If you recognised some of those symptoms in yourself there is a good chance that you have experienced a burnout at one point or another. University is a demanding and intense environment and stress may be unavoidable, but a burnout is preventable.


Exercise regularly is not only good for our physical health, but it can also give us an emotional boost. While current restrictions mean that going to the gym is not an option at the moment, home workouts are a great alternative. If you are not someone who views working out as a chore and feel that you are too stretched for time, going for walks is a convenient way to make exercise a daily habit.


Eating a healthy diet is also an essential part of avoiding a burnout. Incorporating foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts can be a natural antidepressant and may help give your mood a boost.


These are just some examples of small changes you can make that could have a big impact and help you in avoiding that end of semester slump this year.

MA in Journalism @DCU / 2020-2021
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