Finals Burnout & How to Avoid It

As we settle into the final weeks of the winter semester, we’re wrapping up what’s been a very long year of Zoom university and I know that personally, I’ve never felt this exhausted or unmotivated with my academics. Final exams are just around the corner but I can’t bring myself to study or participate in my schooling the way I usually do this time of year. After chatting with a few friends, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, the slow build of stress from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic combined with the stress from our personal lives, work, and school has left many youths dealing with burnout.  

I’m sure you’ve seen the term floating around social media lately, and it warrants a discussion. So, what is burnout? Burnout is the feeling of mental and/or physical exhaustion that occurs if we’re not properly managing our stress levels. It’s often seen in healthcare providers, business executives, and other occupations. Burnout makes it harder to regulate emotions and it can severely impact mental health, causing anger outbursts, panic/anxiety, feelings of sadness and apathy, and substance use/abuse.  

What are some of the things we can do to help cope with feelings of burnout?  

  • Eating nourishing foods – doing your best to eat at least three meals a day will help keep your body & mind fuelled. 

  • Stretching/joyful movement – after sitting at a desk or on the couch, it’s a good idea to get your body moving in whatever way makes you feel good! 

  • Spending time outside – some fresh air can do wonders, even if it’s a quick two-minute walk, every little bit of sunshine helps to refresh your brain! 

  • Doing something that makes you feel like a kid – blow bubbles, sing & dance around your living room, do a craft, whatever you want! Invite some joy into your life and take some time away from your work. 

  • Tidying up your space – set a 10-minute timer and tidy as much of your space as you can. It doesn’t need to be clean, it just needs to be functional. You deserve to live in a space that works for you! 

  • Taking a comforting shower or bath – you know your body best, if you want to rest in the bath while watching a movie, go for it! 

  • Take a step back – take as much off of your plate as possible, and make sure to rest! You deserve to take a break, even if it feels impossible, make time for yourself to wind down each day. 

This final exam season, make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. This has been a long year and we’re all feeling its effects right now. Take the time that you need for yourself; resting is productive and you are not less-than for needing to take a break. In the future, detecting burnout before reaching the point of no return might be helpful to avoid experiencing this again! Keep an eye on your stress levels and try to be conscious of when you’re taking on more than you might be able to handle. Good luck Gryphons! We’ve got this.  

 

Sources: 

https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/career-burnout  

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/burnout  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279286/