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What to Do if You Are Experiencing a Burnout

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Siena chapter.

2020 has been one hell of an exhausting year, and it’s not even over yet. As we traverse this new normal, it seems most of us are coming out with more negative things than we are positive. Bad skin, weight gain, shorter attention spans, slow Wi-Fi, worse sight from all that screen time, and basically no motivation can be found. As COVID-19 sticks around for god knows how much more time, the less we find ourselves being motivated by the things we used to love.

Now school feels like a chore, and so does work. And going to the grocery store just to come home sporting more acne then before isn’t pleasant. And staying inside has got everyone a little down in the dumps, especially as the weather becomes colder. What we used to do full steam is now only at half, if even that, and we find ourselves saying, “So what, and who cares?” more often than not.

Burnouts are real and result in physical exhaustion and lack of motivation. We all experiences these more than once throughout our lives, but it seems society is reaching a collective one now.

With school only halfway done this semester, finding the time to do your homework, keep track of in-person and remote and online class sessions, working under new protocols, and trying to be extra sanitary with little products available, it’s got us on in funk.

And turns out: that’s okay!

It’s nothing to worry about, because it happens to everyone, but self-care if especially important during these periods of our lives. And as the self-professed Self-Care Queen, who all her friends say, “Just like you always say: self-care!” as we all take some extra time for ourselves and maybe buying an extra pity coffee once and a while, I am here to give you the tips and tricks of working through a burnout.

Buy That Extra Coffee! Girl, You Deserve It!

Sometimes pitying yourself is self-care. For me, I like to treat myself to a coffee when I’m feeling low (or high). Having a bad day? Coffee! Good day? Coffee! Long day? Coffee! Terrible year? Coffee!

This can be done with anything you’d like. Pick something relatively inexpensive, so when the going gets tough, you have something that will bring you momentary joy. Sometimes just one tiny, little spark of joy can really change your attitude and turn your day around. Getting that “first sip feeling,” as Starbucks cups reminds us, is also getting that “first step to self-care” feeling too.

Leave Your Weekends Blank

At the time of writing this article, I slept in until 11 a.m. all weekend from Friday to Sunday. If you notice yourself sleeping longer than usual, or having trouble sleeping, you’re probably experiencing a burnout. By leaving your weekends blank of mandatory work (this includes homework!), you’re giving yourself time to really rest. And if sleeping until 11 a.m. all weekend long means you get the extra rest your body is clearly in need of: no harm, no foul!

Even if you spend your whole weekend binge watching some new Netflix series (The Challenger documentary is highly recommended by yours truly!), you shouldn’t consider this a bad thing. Sure, you’re not really doing anything productive, but during a burnout…it is productive! You’re RESTING. Despite that fact that you might not be asleep, your body is still healing through relaxation.

Find a Creative Outlet

I like to bake, and Facebook doesn’t help. So. Many. Good. Recipes. On. There.

I save them to a baking folder on Facebook or add them to the never ending list of open tabs in Safari, and pull one out when I don’t really feel up too much. Baking can be a lot of work, but at the end of it, you can carb load and carb loading makes everything better.

But it doesn’t stop short at baking. You can draw, paint, write creatively, journal, take photos, doodle, learn a new skill, etc. Creativity, especially when exercised frequently, can come easily and really relax you from your stressors, especially when you’re doing this for you with no deadline in sight. Write a novel you’ve been playing in your head for years, no matter how bad the first draft is. The first draft is you telling yourself the story, and the second is for everyone else! Paint a really bad picture of a flower, because it lightens up the room. DIY an old shirt into something new. Just put your heart into something that doesn’t need to be perfect or turned in to anyone. Let your creativity fly!

Talk to Your Friends

That’s what they’re there for, right? Tell your best friend, no matter how far they are (Hello, Dayton, Ohio and Joey!) how you’re feeling and check in on them too. Some Bestie Time, no matter how far, is quality time (and self-care!).

Being that my life is stressful right now, I cannot tell you how many Snapchat videos I’ve sent Joey ranting about my life, my responsibilities, and my irritations. And equally, he’s sent me videos back. Just getting it off your chest and spending some time with your bestie really does make you feel better.

Skincare is the Prime Version of Self-Care

I love skincare. I just bought a coffee face mask from The Body Shop for $6 yesterday just because it smelled good. Plus, it exfoliates, which helps with all the gross things your mask mask traps against your skin.

We’re all experiencing more pimples and acne than usual, which means skincare is needed more than ever. But it’s also pampering yourself, and during a burnout, you have to prioritize YOU. Pamper yourself, girl. We experience burnouts because we neglect ourselves, and the only way to get back to normal is to prioritize yourself. So buy that expensive skincare product, it’s not going to be waste anyways.

Treating your skin is treating yourself. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Go to Bath and Body, and Buy a Candle

Candles are everything. Bath and Body candles are the best candles. They’re also running a sale right now and don’t forget about $9 candle day coming up soon in December. Candles: the way to not only physically brighten your room, make your house smell better, but make you smile every time you get a good smell of Pineapple Mango, or Hot Cocoa and Cream, or basically any of the scents.

Can’t have a candle, go to Walmart, find the wax melts section, and go crazy.

Truly, candles work. They make everything better and you can never have enough.


Go hiking or for a walk. Just get some fresh air and leave all your worries back in your dorm!

Write a Letter or Send a Card

I send my friends holiday cards every holiday. I’m kind of notorious for it by now. And they always Snap me to tell me thank you, and seeing them happy over a 99 cent card from Walmart makes me happy too. It’s so easy to make someone’s day and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it if you don’t want too! Letting someone know you’re thinking about them really does make someone’s day. It and it makes you feel happy too, because in a way, as you write out your card, you’re connected to them too.

Hopefully these suggestions help you feel a little bit better. Burnouts are a pain in the ass, but they’re a fact of life. We all go through them, and we all get out of them. Just remember: a little self-care goes a long way. So do the things that make you happy and treat yourself to the little things that bring a smile on your face. It’s incredibly important. It’s not selfish either. Take care of yourself!

Alyssa Guzman is a Siena College Class of 2021 alumna. During her time at Siena, she Double Majored in English and Communications Journalism with a minor in Writing and Communications.