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If you attend Winona State University, then chances are, you’re feeling burnt out and exhausted. I understand the need to keep COVID-19 cases low, but I also value a break and the recharge it offers. Last week was the busiest week of the semester for me, and I hardly got through it. I procrastinated and lost sleep, which in turn made me feel bad about the assignments I was submitting and my classes in general. This week I feel a lot better, and I thought I would share some of my tips for how to keep the motivation rolling.


First, we are going to talk about burnouts and the different pieces of it. There are three different signs of burnout and each is important to recognize in order to get out of the slump. 


The first is emotional exhaustion and it includes a lack of motivation and feelings of fatigue. The article recognizes this as the feeling of “moving through mud.” 


The second sign is a kind of out of body experience called depersonalization. Basically, it is the feeling of being disconnected from your body and actions. 


The last sign is a lack of focus or concentration. The article describes it as, “taking more time to accomplish less” which sounds almost too real. So, now that you recognize the signs of burnout, here are some ways to crawl out of the slump:


1. Make a list

For me, organization is what keeps my life in check, and it was no different this time. Making a list each day can help keep your mind on track and prevent unnecessary stress from building up. 


I normally include small chores on my list like dishes or laundry, and I’ll also include errands I need to run. Listing my schoolwork always seems to be the most taxing part, but I found one strategy that really works for me, and hopefully you too! Writing down an estimated time for each assignment allowed me to see how much extra time I had in my day. 


Along with these times, I also include small breaks to separate the time spent on homework. This might be common sense as well, but something that has helped me is working on several things a day. I never work on one paper for 6 hours straight—instead, I will group small assignments for that same day in order to balance it out. So, for example, I might work on my paper for two hours and then read one of my class books after. This really seems to help my motivation and it keeps your day interesting as you’re not focused on one thing for the entire day.


2. Give yourself a break

Chances are if you’re experiencing burnout, you’ve pushed yourself further than what you’re used to. I’m sure you have accomplished a lot so don’t feel as if you’re inadequate; you’re just overwhelmed! When I take a break, I sometimes feel guilty that I’m not working on things or being productive, but that is exactly why breaks are needed! Set aside an hour or so each day to spend time on you; some examples can include watching your favorite TV show or going to dinner with friends. No matter what you do, make sure you are present and living in the moment because stressing on homework will not help you. Take a moment to breathe and relax… it will save you in the long run. 


3. Get your beauty rest

Sleep is one of the hardest things for me, and I know I’m not the only one. Stress makes sleep even harder but trying to get a full eight hours will help your physical and emotional health. 


4. Talk to someone about it

Talking to roommates and friends about how you’re feeling can really help. Both of my roommates are also feeling burnt out, so we tend to take our breaks together which helps all of us in the end. Sharing your load with someone can really help ease the burden and it can create a stronger bond too! It’s a win-win.


5. Focus on progress

Reminding myself of my goals always seems to get me back on track. Sometimes stress and life get in the way, and we become distanced from our purpose. If you’re struggling with finishing an assignment or finding motivation to study, ask yourself; why am I doing this in the first place? What am I working towards? Asking these questions will help center yourself and motivate you to push forward.


I have never struggled with burnout this bad, and I hope that these tips can help someone too. The only way to recover is to create the feeling of a break without actually getting one. It might take a few weeks to get back to your normal state, but it will happen eventually. 


I feel more like myself this week than I did last week, and these tips have greatly helped me. So, go take a break and remember that you got this!


My name is Emily Venné and I am a junior at Winona State University. I am majoring in Literature and Language and minoring in both Creative Writing and Journalism. When my nose isn't buried in a book, I am either writing, hanging out with friends, or binge-watching my favorite tv shows. I dream of one day working in either publishing or editing, and maybe even writing a book of my own. <3
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