How a Lack of Spring Break Leads to Burnout: What to Do About It

Many schools across the country decided to get rid of spring break for the 2020 - 2021 school year, despite an outcry from students who have to deal with overwhelming amounts of work. Whether or not this decision was sound, considering everything going on, is still up to debate. While we don’t want COVID cases to rise due to a huge wave of students going on vacation or partying in Miami, a lot of students are now experiencing serious burnout. 

Considering the rising rates of mental health issues and suicide in the country after COVID-19 first hit, one would think that administrators would take that into account before getting rid of spring break. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among college-aged students. 

Not everyone’s situation is the same. Some students have to work full time while going to school full time. Some students have children, work, and school. Some students suffer from learning disabilities or mental health issues that make learning difficult. And at the end of the day, certain students have less of a burden or the financial means to still go on vacation despite being in school.

I have a job, am taking 15 credits, and living with my family now (six people and two dogs in one household). I’m a senior this year and right off the bat, there was a heavy workload from all of my professors this semester. The week before we would normally have spring break, I had three papers due and a ton of other stuff. The next week when spring break would usually occur, I had to take four midterms. I was so stressed and in all of my years at college, it’s never been like that and I attribute that to having a break in the past. 

Here are some things you can do to help with burnout: 

1. Plan Break Days

Plan days where the majority of your time will be spent relaxing or doing something that you want to do. This sometimes can lead to a feeling of falling behind or unproductivity but it’s not a bad thing to take a break. Make sure that you’re not missing any important deadlines though. 

2. Be Intentional With Time 

Plan your time during the week with intention. Have set times that you plan on doing things so that your work doesn’t become the whole day. There has to be some time during the day that you get a moment to relax or de-stress. 

3. Eat Healthy 

Try to eat healthy! It’s easy as a student to snack while studying or grab a bite from Taco Bell between assignments. Junk food doesn’t help your productivity though. Eating healthier will help with your energy. Also, remember to stay hydrated. Drink water!

4. Exercise 

It can be between classes or 10 minutes of jumping jacks during your allotted break. Try to exercise at some point in the day, it’s not healthy to be sitting down the entire day on the computer or looking at tiny words in textbooks. For me, taking a walk helps me process the thoughts I have and gets me feeling energized. 

5. Hobbies/Spirituality 

A lot of us aren’t on campus and don’t have access to the activities/clubs they have. It’s up to you to find a hobby or something that makes you happy. You can find a virtual community for it on social media (like Facebook). My mother recently got into gardening and she’s a part of like 50 million groups (not really, haha). Your school may have a forum for you to find virtual events they put on and clubs that are still active. For Mason, it’s called Mason360.