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Feeling the Burnout?

Cara Davis, C'22

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Welcome back Mounties! Starting this week we only have three more weeks left until finals! If this is your last semester in college or the first year you've completed, it has been one that will be hard to forget. Even though this semester has been less restricted than last spring semester, the burnout is very real.

We have seen glimpses of a regular semester by being on campus, having campus activities and athletic events, and attending some in-person classes but results from the pandemic are in plain sight. Add in the stress of Covid-19 cases, re-openings, and vaccinations, it is a lot to take in. It may feel as if there isn’t enough time to get everything done and still make most of the semester. As the days creep closer to finals, workloads and stress increase as sleep decreases.

Burnout can be defined as an increased level of stress, most likely school stress, that doesn’t leave room for relaxation or recharge. It may present itself through never-ending exhaustion, lack of motivation, increased irritation, or decreased sense of accomplishment. These are very common feelings as a college student, but what is natural and what is too much?

The Mayo Clinic identifies some burnout causes like lack of control or extremes of activity. As a college student in a pandemic, these two come with the territory. It is hard to feel in control for anyone trying to teach or learn in this environment. Our days are segmented between Zoom and in-person classes. This creates a chaotic environment that requires constant energy to remain focused leading to burnout faster.

Professors and students are being called to receive their vaccinations. This is leading to being knocked down for a day or two because of side effects. If one's schedule was already overloaded this can lead to the feeling of being behind. Extreme levels of school-related stress can cause an imbalance and leave you with not enough time to rest and recharge.

As I mentioned last week, sleep is essential to our well-being. Burnout can cause extreme exhaustion where it feels like you can never get enough or cause sleeping issues. While I cannot take away from your workload, I do have a couple of tips that have helped me through my three years at the Mount.

The tip is to know your boundaries. For first-year students, it is easy to get swept away with all the possibilities, but you can end up overwhelming your time. You want to recognize what you will be able to do. It is okay to say no and only take on things you can handle. For all the upperclassmen, we know that our schedules get busier near the end of the semester. Try to set aside moments to relax and breathe from the day. And for my seniors, you may feel the need to fit in everything in your last semester. Make it memorable but don’t exhaust yourself so much that you cannot enjoy it.

Even if you feel like you have learned the balance between school and life, you still need a recharge every now again. If this means you spend the day doing absolutely nothing that is perfectly fine. Listen to your body, if it is telling you to stop and be still then you should listen to it. It isn’t worth working yourself to exhaustion in the long run.

Try to enjoy the fun moments in all the chaos. I will catch you next week Mounties! In the meantime check out my post from last week about the importance of sleep.

Cara Davis, C'22