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Small Ways to Feel Productive When You’re Burnt Out

It’s getting to that time in the semester where everything happens all at once. Papers begin to pile up, tests seem like they’re popping up in every class, your work hours increase and you’re doing your best to keep everything in line. Even if your class load isn’t super heavy, this is the time of the year where it’s easy to get burnt out. If it happens to you, don’t worry—take a moment to breathe and center yourself before jumping back in. If you’re like me and hate the feeling of not being productive even when super tired, here are some small ways to feel productive while also taking care of yourself.

Clean Something:

It doesn’t have to be big. Are there dishes you’ve been neglecting to wash? Wash them. Is your desk messy? Take ten minutes and organize it. Make your bed or do your laundry. Even if you clean something small, it gets you moving and gives you a sense of accomplishment, so put on some jams and get cleaning.

Go For a Walk:

If the weather is nice enough, put your headphones in and go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be long, but getting out in the fresh air will give you some space to clear your head and refocus on what you have to do. It gives you a moment for yourself and gets you moving. If the weather won’t allow you to go outside, get up and do some stretches.

Make Food:

When I’m burnt out, the last thing I want to do is make a fuss over food, but if you have the means, go to the kitchen and make yourself something to eat. Again, it gets you up and you’re listening to your body. Whip up some comfort food, sit down at the table and eat it. Bonus points if you make something healthy. Also make sure to drink a big glass of water.

Take a Bath or Shower:

When it comes to the end of the day, give yourself a break. Draw up a nice bath, put in some bubbles if you have them and let yourself relax. If you don’t like baths or don’t have a tub, take a shower. If you’re feeling fancy and you like shaving, make a simple sugar scrub composed of olive oil and sugar, scrub your legs and witness all of the dead skin coming off your body. It’s gross, but trust me, your body will be super smooth and feel incredible. Just don’t forget to moisturize!

Do Something You Want To Do:

Is there something you’ve been neglecting because of your workload? Do it. Pick up that book, write that story, play your instrument, compose that email. Take a break from school and do something you really want to do. You’ll feel more inclined to do it and it’ll help you feel productive.

Even doing something small is a way to feel productive when you’re burnt out. But remember, sometimes sitting back and watching YouTube or Netflix is the best thing for you. In the end, do what’s right for you.

Lauren Stretar is a student at Hamline University studying creative writing and sociology. She has two poems published.
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