10 Easy Steps to Get Yourself Out of a Burnout

First acknowledge that you’re feeling burned out…(shocker, I know) Do you feel tired all the time? Is caffeine just not hitting the spot like it used to? Do you feel overwhelmed and lack the motivation to keep up with your studies? Then you might be burning out. For me, as finals week gets closer and closer, I start waking up dreading the day. I don’t feel like studying as much as I used to, I’m procrastinating on school work, and worst of all, I’m not taking bold steps in my writing. When I catch myself in the midst of a burnout, A). I look up how many jobs these days require a college degree and B). I follow these easy steps.

1. Give Yourself a Day Off & Set Boundaries

This one’s tricky, depending on your schedule and if you don’t have a full free day. I suggest using anytime you’re alone for “me time,” even if it’s only for an hour a day. Last semester, when I took 18 credits, worked two jobs, and I had a whole bunch of responsibilities on top of that, I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of free time, but I always had Friday afternoons free. Even if a friend wanted to hang out or people were texting or calling me, I knew before I could take care of others, I had to take care of myself. Every Friday afternoon, I reserved 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a date with me, myself and I. Sometimes I’d treat myself to lunch in the commons, paint my nails while watching baking shows, or I’d read a good book.

2. Journal and Write Down a List of Short- and Long-Term Goals

Whenever you get to that place where you’re hustling, and you don’t quite know why anymore, take out a journal dedicated to writing down your goals (you can easily just get a cheap $1 notebook from Walmart or Target). Time yourself for five minutes to write down everything you want within the next week, next year, and your whole life in general. There’s no specific order just make sure not to take the pen off the paper for that whole five minutes and write down whatever comes to your head first.

3. Go for a Walk or Visit a Place That Makes You Feel Happy

Whenever I feel myself slipping into a burnout, I force myself to get out of the house and go somewhere that I know will make me feel better. Sometimes that’s the grocery store, a museum, a street I like to walk down, or a nice café for coffee or tea.  

4.  Face Masks, Baths & Wine

Trust me, I know face masks won’t heal your problems but sometimes you need to light a couple candles, listen to Declan McKenna, and take a hot bath with an avocado face scrub and a glass of wine (or sparkling apple juice if you’re underage).

5. Make Yourself a Homemade Meal

You don’t have to be the next Rachael Ray, but cooking for yourself is not only healthy but it’s a great way to feel creative in the kitchen and de-stress. And start small; maybe tonight you’ll make a special sauce for your pasta with veggies, have a taco night with some friends over, or spend a little extra on groceries to make a recipe from your grandmother’s cookbook (if your grandmother cooks, mine doesn’t but I felt like this was a good example).

6. Put Down the Coffee Cup!

As great as coffee might be for a quick caffeine rush, high doses of caffeine will inevitably lead to a crash and dehydration. Try replacing your usual cup of coffee every morning for a cup of warm water with lemon or tea. Not to mention, a banana, a smoothie, scramble or bowl of oatmeal might give you even more energy for the day.  

7. Take a Class You’ve Never Tried Before

Spark some creativity for the day by taking a fitness class, a painting class, a rock-climbing class or even a circus class just for fun. Try joining a new club that has nothing to do with your major and you might find a new hobby you love. And hobbies are a great way to stay motivated and driven.  

8. Teach Yourself a New Skill

I highly discourage using your free time to watch TV because it’s easy to dissociate while watching TV. Instead, Lynda is a great site connected to Ithaca College where you can take short mini-courses online and learn about web design. Tech, business, etc. and challenge yourself to take one mini-course a week. You’re still technically taking a break but you’re also learning a new skill.

9. Hold on to a “Happy Memory”

Whenever you feel overwhelmed or like your life is on fire and there’s nothing you can do about it. Think back to a memory from childhood or even a couple years back that makes you feel so fuzzy inside you physically smile. For me, I think about riding my bike past the neighbor's house, through the park, and up the street to see my cousins. I felt like I could fly. Think of a moment that makes you feel like you’re flying.

 

10. Check-in with Your Support System

This is probably the most important step. You should never have to deal with anything on your own, especially a burnout. Don’t be afraid to confide in a close friend about how you’re feeling odds are they probably feel the same. Laugh, cry, and make plans for your future because at the end of the day, love is the best motivation to keep going and strive for your dreams.