For those of us pursuing our education, we’re no strangers to burnout. Our relationships with burnout are probably some of the most toxic we have yet to face in our young lives. Once we think we’ve escaped its tight, motivation-crushing embrace, we somehow find ourselves crawling right on back, despite knowing we should be sprinting in the other direction. But why is this reoccurring pattern so common? Are we to blame for it?
I’ve noticed that so many people are experiencing the same burnout, the kind where they’re no longer motivated to put forth any effort in anything, except for lounging around and watching Netflix with their favorite bag of chips. Burnout sneaks up on us in the same way that a super annoying and overbearing “friend” does, and then it traps us in a painful interaction. The funny thing is, once we’ve kicked burnout to the curb, we’re so quick to overload ourselves until we experience the next bout of burnout. Here’s the thing — I know we all want to be social and hang out with friends, but some of us have the bad habit of making hanging out with friends into our full-time job. But with being a full-time student and a full-time friend, where is the time to just relax and have a few moments to enjoy for ourselves? I think that’s the key question we need to answer in order to fully understand the issue.
Many people don’t realize how important it is to make time to unwind and cater to ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically. Whether you do those things by journaling, working out or napping, there is no question that without some type of self-care, we begin falling victim to burnout. In this sense, we can roughly define burnout as what happens when we stop paying attention to ourselves and only focus on outside forces like school, work or friends. Basically, without that time just for ourselves, we simply become overwhelmed with all of our endeavors. Let’s face it, there isn’t enough time in the day to focus on school, friends and ourselves without one getting the short end of the stick. Unfortunately, the one that usually does is us. But the good news is there are plenty of ways to happily avoid burnout.
You need to balance school, friends and self-care so you don’t implode. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that school is always going to be a large part of our lives as college students — but making plans specifically to study or work on that paper for a few hours is totally possible. As for friends, I know hanging out with at least one of them seems like a necessity, but it isn’t. It’s okay if for one night you just don’t feel like joining the gang. Look at it this way — you could use that night in to unwind and relieve some stress from the school day. Basically, all it takes is listening to yourself and knowing your own needs to make sure you keep burnout at bay.
In the end, we have to keep ourselves accountable for the choices we make and how we choose to prioritize our activities. With that being said, we are somewhat to blame for our burnout — but let’s be honest, midterms are brutal, and we’re all human.