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The Mass Media

Battling burnout: Tips, tricks and advice

As students start to come back from winter break, many feel rejuvenated and ready to conquer the new semester that lays ahead! Breaks are helpful in catching up on some well-needed sleep and resetting our stress levels before getting back into a new semester. However, some students, especially those in their final semester, are feeling the effects of burnout. In these cases, a month-long break sometimes isn’t enough time to recuperate from the stress of the past semester, which prevents those affected from being able to fully reset.

The definition of burnout, according to HelpGuide.org, is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” [1] This shows that for some people, burnout is more than just symptoms of procrastination and stress, but true fatigue. This feeling of constantly being overwhelmed is a clear indicator of burnout, and if the burnout is severe, a month break might not be enough to help you get back to your “normal” state. In these cases, coming back from a break may not give that replenishing feeling that would be expected. Instead, students can find it difficult to transition back into an academic routine. This can cause students to feel overwhelmed, even in the early weeks upon returning to school. 

It’s important to understand how real burnout can be, and to recognize that many students feel this way at some point during their college journey. That’s why I spoke with some students about how they’ve learned to cope with burnout, while also giving some of their own tips!

It was interesting to hear that a lot of students have suffered from burnout, but surprisingly, there isn’t much compassion around the topic. I believe one of the reasons for this lack of awareness and resources is due to our very apparent hustle culture, where burnout can be seen as a flaw rather than a productive tool.However, it’s also clear that burnout is beginning to become more commonly discussed in workplaces as well as amongst college students. While burnout can manifest differently in different people, it’s clear that the coping strategies are also personalized based on the person’s needs. 

One student I spoke to, Antoine, said that when he identifies that he might be in the early stages of burnout, he makes sure to find a way to “ground” himself and find balance. He said that this can be through “reconnecting with friends or spending more time outdoors.” The main strategy is to balance your life so that the thing that is causing burnout isn’t the focus of your life. If it is, it can cause you to be further absorbed into the stress of the situation. His answer highlights the importance of making sure to have a balance between the good enjoyments in life and the necessary stressors that can come from daily duties like school or work. 

Another student in her senior year, Anais, stated that for her, keeping good habits such as exercise and better sleep can help combat the symptoms of burnout, as she feels like exercise gives her the dopamine that burnout robs her of. Her advice emphasizes the importance of listening to our bodies, and how successful this can be in the battle against burnout. Having good self-care habits can help to prevent the darker stages, such as depression and anxiety, that can come from the constant exposure to overwhelming stress.We all have different activities, people or objects that make us happy, which allow us to better handle the difficult world around us. So in these harder moments, it’s vital to turn to these positives when we may need extra grounding and motivation. 

Burnout can make us feel isolated, and it can be frustrating to feel constantly overwhelmed and unmotivated. However, once we realize that these feelings are extremely common amongst many college students, we can see this is another feeling shared by those in our community. As we start getting back into the groove of things, we can hopefully build each other up. Now, here’s to a new semester filled with victories and success. I hope we all find our own best methods for combating burnout, while also accomplishing the goals we lay out for ourselves! 



[1] www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm  

About the Contributor
Mercy Moncada, Opinions Writer