Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer Stress

Midterm Burnout? Read This.

Post-Reading Week depression is REAL. It’s a week of thrown-off routines. It’s enough time to relax or catch up on schoolwork, but it feels like there’s never enough time to do both. So, by the end of reading week, we finally begin to relax, and what do you know - it’s back to reality. Instead of feeling invigorated for the rest of the semester, I often come out of reading week feeling less motivated than I did before it started. These symptoms are very common in people with a condition we’re all familiar with: student burnout. Ah yes, the zombie students come alive and go through the mind-numbing routine that can be Zoom university life. But it doesn’t have to be. You can feel refreshed and motivated right now by reading this article! 

The Dalai Lama said, “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious life, I am not going to waste it.” Okay, I know what you might be thinking. This quote sounds great and all, but how do I actually feel fortunate to be alive each morning when I have 8 assignments due that day and a pandemic threatening to unravel my sanity? Trust me, I can relate. The remedy for burnout is in the small, simple actions we take each day. We all have mountains we need to climb, but we need the right tools to overcome them. If you start climbing a mountain without the right shoes, clothing, or snacks, you will have a much harder time reaching the top of that mountain. In the same way we prepare to climb a mountain, we have to equip ourselves with the tools that will give us the mental strength to thrive through hard times. 

It’s one thing to tell yourself to be grateful, but it takes a whole other battle to actually live with gratitude. Never discount the importance of the basics: water, sleep and exercise. In order to have the mental space to take on the day, we absolutely need these 3 things, no ifs or buts. These basic essentials are the food we must feed our minds because without them, we really can’t survive. If you can listen to your body by giving it what it needs, then your mind can follow suit. Once our basic needs are met, our minds are free to notice the world around us: the slowly warming weather, the zesty flavour of your lunch, the laughter of loved ones. Noticing these blessings, however small or modest they may seem, make such a large impact on our motivation. Acknowledging the things that are working in your life and being grateful for them can give you the strength to tackle the challenges. 

If you found this article interesting and helpful, there are a few books and videos I can recommend that have helped me find motivation for the rest of the semester. Check out Jay Shetty’s Think Like A Monk, in which he talks about how we can master our mind to have a purposeful life. If you enjoy videos over reading, check out Jay Shetty’s video on How to Be Grateful.  Watch this Ted Talk by Hailey Bartholomew about gratitude. If you’re looking for some daily reminders of gratitude, check out @gratefulness.me on Instagram. I hope you all can make the time to cultivate gratitude in your lives and watch its power change you!