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How to Get Through Burnouts

December 6, 2021

We are slowly getting closer to the final stretch of the Fall semester and final exams are around the corner. Are you doing great in your courses or are you ready to give up? With all the work you have put in over the course of the semester, you may or may not be unhappy with the outcomes you have had. If you are unhappy, do not worry, you are not alone. As we all go through college, we may come to a point where we find ourselves feeling burnt out. According to the American Psychological Association, a burnout is a “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes toward oneself and others. It results from performing at a high level until stress and tension, especially from extreme and prolonged physical or mental exertion or an overburdening workload, take their toll.” Many students find themselves in this dilemma and it is important to know how to recognize it and find solutions to power through it.

 

We have included a few suggestions below on how to solve your burnout problems. To get insight and advice from a real student, we asked Idaho State University Student Body President, Zane Webb. 

 

 

  • Recognize the signs

 

 

The first step in getting through burnouts is to recognize the signs. Taking a moment to stand back and notice the symptoms and signs can help you discover the best route to a solution. Common signs include, “negative feelings, reduced quality of care, a tired appearance, reduced eye contact, irritability or agitation and poor communication,” (Maslach, 2016). According to Zane, some signs that help him realize he is experiencing a burnout are agitation, unhealthiness and falling behind. 

 

 

  • Take breaks 

 

 

One of the best ways to help with burnouts is by taking a break from the workload. Students are expected to dedicate multiple hours during the week to study and do homework, along with also balancing out time for jobs. This heavy workload and trying to find time to study while working can create a high amount of stress and overtime, is a big reason for burning out. It is okay to take a break and do things that allow your mind and body to rest. You can do this in a number of ways from working out, watching your favorite shows, napping, spending time with friends and family and more. However, it is important to note that taking too many breaks overtime might create procrastination, so make sure you are still meeting deadlines. 

 

“I extensively rely on Netflix when I am recuperating,” says Zane, “I also enjoy meditating in the morning and taking 10 minutes a day to brainstorm on what I need to accomplish for the day and the challenges I might face. Then, I come up with some hypothetical solutions for those problems.”

 

 

  • Put yourself in a positive environment

 

Try to find an environment that you are comfortable in and surround yourself with positive peers. Fighting a burnout alone can be a struggle, but by having someone around who is trustworthy might help you power through it. Odds are, they could be struggling with their own burnout as well. Try bouncing ideas off each other, finding activities to do or perhaps travel somewhere. Sometimes it is helpful to vent, but venting too much and commiserating on the problem can sometimes worsen the feeling of burnout and frustration. So, work with your peers to constructively discuss your feelings of burnout and find solutions, rather than focusing on the problems and people that may contribute to your stress. The environment around you is just as important. Getting away from places that create a stress heavy atmosphere allows yourself to find more peace. 

 

For Zane, the number one person who supports him is his wife. “I have an amazing wife that helps me stay mentally sane, and helps me recharge every day so that I am ready to go all out the next day.”

 

 

  • Make a plan to establish balance

 

 

With the many priorities that have piled up on your plate, finding a way to establish balance can help prevent future burnouts. You can do this by organizing a schedule. Try using some form of planner or calendar and write out when and what times you will use to dedicate your time finishing projects/homework. By doing this, you can keep track of everything easier and ensure that deadlines are met. 

 

“The short answer is I can’t do a perfect job but I try to do the best I can with finding balance,” Zane replies, “The solution I have found is to prioritize every decision and weigh the consequences and utility of taking or not taking action.”

 

“Most would say that burnout is inevitable and that throughout your life you will be burned out. I would argue the best way to delay or avoid burnout is to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy. You can do this by eating three times a day, sleeping eight hours a day, spending a couple hours a week socializing and exercising.” Burning out is a common problem for most students and finding a solution is vital. The first step is to recognize the signs and from then on, search for the best way to get through it. Everyone is different, so find what works best for you, but we encourage you to try out a few of our own solutions. 

 

Works Cited

Clay, R. (2018, February). Are you burned out? Here are signs and what to do about them. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/02/ce-corner

 

Maslach, C. & Leiter, M. (2016, June). Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World Psychiatry. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wps.20311