Dealing with Burnout

8:04 PM

Hello everybody,

This post is going to be something different as apparent from the title itself. Having experienced the symptoms of burnout a couple of days ago, I decided to put the experience in black and white and to share with you some tips on how to deal with it. Another reason that prompted me to write this post, is the fact that I've seen a lot of students go through the experience of burnout without being able to fully comprehend what it is and how to deal with it. Students in general have to endure a lot of pressure to do well in school. As university students there is added pressure, not only from the requirement to master the learned material but also several other external factors such as managing jobs, personal relationships and other activities like for example, blogging. Having to juggle all of this is not easy and this is where a lot of problems arise. Often we place greater emphasis on outside influences and blame it on everyone else when we are under stress. However it is important to recognize that it is partly certain behavioral patterns in ourselves that adds to the feeling of being burnt-out.

Burnout is characterized by exhaustion which surface due to excessive demands placed on a person by himself/ herself or by any external factor which overrides the person's resources. This essentially results in a depletion of energy within the person and could be discerned from the drastic decline in performance of that person. I noticed that I was feeling tired all the time and didn't have the energy nor the motivation to get things done. Needless to say that I was astounded because I was still very much in love with what I was studying, with my work and blogging. The bottom line is that anyone can experience burnout even if they were 'living their dreams'. At that time having to read yet another paragraph of a text was harrowing. Another symptom is starting to feel more cynical or pessimistic about aspects of life. It can cause strains in personal relationships and affects an individual's physical health as in my case, when I started to feel physically ill more often than usual. Few other symptoms (which I didn't personally experience) are identified as insomnia, loss of appetite and withdrawal from relationships.

The silver lining is that a change in lifestyle is all that is required to reverse the condition. So here's what you can do if you're experiencing symptoms of burn-out.

1. Recognize the problem

Spoken like a true counselor, the first step to recovery is to recognize the problem and identify the symptoms early on before it starts to take a toll on your life. This could be the easiest or the hardest thing to do depending on the circumstances. Either way it is necessary to keep in mind that pushing beyond limits by disregarding the problem can cause serious harm.

2. Know your limits

As I mentioned above it is absolutely necessary to know yourself and your capabilities. When you become aware that you are crossing over certain limits make sure you restrain yourself from exerting more pressure on yourself. Slowing down is the best thing you can do when you're starting to feel increasingly tired and demotivated, in other words, when you're starting to experience the symptoms of burnout.

3. Give yourself a break

Taking breaks while studying can be really helpful. For me taking a 15 minute break after studying used to be watching a TV show and we all know how it ends- binge watching an entire season of Pretty Little Liars. More recently I've come to notice how unhealthy it is. By studying for extended periods of time we are straining our eyes as well and by watching television we are further straining them. Listening to music on my new record player or baking a weird looking cake have since become my favorite ways to spend my breaks. At the end of a semester taking a relaxing vacation can help reduce your worries and calm your nerves. Having time for yourself is key to a healthy lifestyle.

4. Prioritize

Calendars and task manager apps are available for a reason, so use them wisely. This was a lesson learned the hard way after experiencing the results from procrastinating for too long. When given an assignment and you say to yourself "I'll do it tomorrow" know that it will never be completed until the day before. So what you end up doing is harming the chance of getting a good grade, forgetting you need food to stay alive, working on the assignment until the next morning and submitting it all at the same time while throwing your health in the bin. So be kind to your future self and start early. It is also important to be realistic when you assign a time duration to study. It is practically impossible for a person to concentrate on a subject for hours and still have the capacity to retain all what was learned/ read. Study smarter not longer.

5.  Re-evaluate your goals

It is important to take time and re-evaluate your goals and dreams. Make sure that you are on track to achieving your long-term goals by breaking them down into sub-goals to make them more attainable and less overwhelming. Take some time to re-discover your true passions and make necessary changes, like for example changing a course. In general, make sure you have a positive attitude towards accomplishing your goals. Never lose hope!

6. Talk to a counselor

There may be other reasons that are contributing to your symptoms of burnout like for example having depression or anxiety. Whether it is personal counseling or career counseling, it would be beneficial to seek help. Through counseling the problem and all its related factors could be explored in depth, so that the roots of the issue could be understood better. Writing in a journal can help assess progress and is a great form of therapy in itself.

While student burnout is not something that is taken seriously by most, it's effects are rather significant. Recognizing the problem and making relevant changes will help you recover easily but more importantly, will help you recognize the symptoms of burn-out if it ever emerges again. While it may seem like an end to a problem it is only sensible to be aware of the possibility of experiencing it again by gathering the resources to cope with it better.

Hope you guys liked this post. If you have any questions or have experiences that you would like to share, make sure you comment down below.

Much love,

[DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the above images.]

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