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Burnouts: How I’ve Learned to Embrace and Grow From Them

It’s mid-semester, and boy am I feeling it! My brain feels increasingly foggy and getting assignments done seems way harder than it did last month. It’s also difficult to be on the schoolwork grind while Amherst is blooming and the sun is shining. Since I seem to get burnt out at this time every year, I decided to take the time to reflect on why I’m feeling this way. 

While reflecting, I realized that I’m burnt out for good reason. First of all, navigating freshman year in the middle of a pandemic has been draining, nerve-racking, and unpredictable. It’s normal to face Zoom fatigue, and so it should be expected that I am not as motivated as usual. Besides this, I believe that feeling run down is the product of hard work and effort. I always try to imagine the amount of notes, papers, and presentations that we all make as students each semester. It’s a lot! Not to mention balancing a social life, mental well-being, jobs, clubs, and whatever else is on our schedules. 

Woman in front of laptop with mask on
Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

Thinking about all that made me take a step back and realize that I have to give myself more credit. No one should have to feel guilty for wanting to focus on their well-being and for embracing the burnout that is looming over them. Sometimes you have to close your computer or cancel a plan and let yourself recover. Recovery for me comes in a lot of different forms. In some scenarios, I need to hit the gym. I swear I can sweat out some of my stress and anxiety. Other times, I need to take an extra hour to lay down and watch a movie or scroll on my phone. This is a more restful approach that definitely gives my brain some downtime. Burnout recovery tactics look different for everyone, but it’s important to figure out what works best for you

Woman doing deadlift
Photo by Anastase Maragos from Unsplash

My main point here is that it’s time to stop viewing burnouts as the worst thing ever. Really, they’re a sign of a lot of hard work. It’s like your brain is just telling you it needs a little break to recharge. I think we’re programmed to believe that if we take a day off, we’re going to fall way behind everyone else. That’s something you have to eliminate from your mindset. Taking time for yourself is enriching your brain so that you can grow and be at your best. There’s no shame in rest, and that is something I’m embracing day by day!

Hannah Stapleton

U Mass Amherst '24

Hannah Stapleton is a freshman hospitality & tourism major at UMass Amherst. When she's not living in Amherst you'll find her adventuring around Cape Cod, which is where she grew up. Hannah is a passionate music lover and very appreciative of the people who are vocal about their current favorite songs.
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