When You're Feeling Burnt Out, Try These 7 Things

Between midterm exams and projects, essays, and endless discussion posts, I can safely say that I’ve reached that point of the semester. That is, the burnout stage. 

I’m exhausted. You’re probably exhausted too. Here at UGA, we’re done with in-person classes by Thanksgiving Break, but even that feels too far away.

Fortunately, in the past couple of weeks I’ve found a couple of things that relieve my stress and bring me back down to earth when things feel a little too crazy. I call them my “comfort” things. Hopefully, seeing my list will help you figure out your own sources of comfort.

  1. 1. Movie: "The Little Mermaid"

    Movies are magical inventions. I think it’s amazing how re-watching any movie can transport you to a certain time and place in your life and make you feel a certain way every time you watch it.

    The Little Mermaid was my favorite Disney movie as a child, so whenever I watch it now I’m transported back to a time where I was no worries, all excitement, all the time. Honestly, any Disney movie is great for when you need stress relief. You always know that there’s a happy ending, so hopefully, that reminds you that whatever you’re dealing with will work out in the end, too.

  2. 2. Book: "Just Listen" by Sarah Dessen

    My comfort book is another example of the power of nostalgia at stressful points in your life. I read Just Listen when I was in middle school, but even now, I still think back to it and all the lessons it taught me. I still apply it to my life today. 

    Childhood books are great to turn back to when you need guidance. The simplicity is a wonderful escape from the complication of real life. Just Listen was a formative book for me, so try to think of books that helped shape who you are today, whether it was implicit or overt, and that just makes you feel good.

  3. 3. Album: "Speak Now" by Taylor Swift

    Speak Now is a romantic and idealistic album that screams late teens, which is when Taylor wrote it. Listening to this album is akin to reading a romantic novel––it’s just sweet, wholesome, and heartwarming, all great things for stress relief. As with the comfort book, think of an album that really helped shape who you are today. One that you can’t help smiling at when you hear that first chord. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a happy album––just one that makes you happy.

  4. 4. Food: Cookies

    Ugh, I love cookies. Lately, I’ve found myself both buying and baking them almost weekly. 

    It’s not the healthiest thing, sure. But it’s always nice to have a little something to reward you for getting through another hard and tiring day. If I’m having a bad day, cookies always make things a little bit better.

    Think about a food that you wouldn’t mind eating exclusively for the rest of your life, one that you always ask for on your birthday. You don’t need a special occasion to treat yourself. Just being a college student in 2020 is more than enough cause for celebration.

  5. 5. Drink: Honey Lemon Green Tea

    I’m a coffee fanatic, but I always like to go for a more subdued tea when I’m feeling tired and burnt out. Green tea specifically has a lot of antioxidants that are great for your health, but more importantly, it helps clear my head which is much appreciated during times of mental overload.

    For your comfort drink, I would recommend also going with some type of tea or soothing agent. Try to avoid caffeine for this one. Instead of choosing a beverage based on how much energy it will give you, choose one that rests your body and calms you down.

  6. 6. TV Show: "Gossip Girl"

    Again, going back to the nostalgia thing, there’s just something I’ll always love about Gossip Girl. It was the first show I ever watched all the way through, and since then I’ve watched it probably two or three more times. It just never gets old to me. 

    What’s a show you can always rely on to make you laugh or that you always find joy in? Let yourself indulge in it whenever you’re feeling burnt out.

  7. 7. Miscellaneous: Vanilla Candle

    I love candles. Not only do they smell fantastic, but they just create a calming ambiance in your room or apartment that’s just unmatched.

    Vanilla candles make me feel cozy, warm, and safe. I can’t really explain it, but the fact that it gives me those specific feelings is why I turn back to it whenever I need to relax and destress. 

    Smell is the best sense for transporting you to a certain time and place in your life. Whatever comfort scent you need, I promise there’s a candle for it.

You’re going to kill this semester, but remember not to overexert yourself. Burnout at this time is totally normal, especially in consideration of the COVID-19 circumstances. Take care of yourself, and good luck.