Posts Tagged ‘burnout’

Wait a Minute, Who ARE You?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

How often do you check in with yourself?  Oftentimes, college life goes at such a fast pace that students will “leave” themselves behind, putting deadlines ahead of their well-being. It definitely doesn’t help that many professors like to think that students can afford to devote 100% of their time to their class, but when you have five classes, the math doesn’t quite add up. Considering most can’t afford to devote 100% of our attention to education in general- let alone a single class- one can very easily feel overwhelmed. Without a doubt, stress is a frequent and unfortunate element of college culture; more than 40% of college students experience an above-average level of stress, as reported by the National College Health Assessment– though, anecdotally, I suspect the number is much higher than reported. 

When you can’t relieve your stress in a healthy way, it builds up within you and quickly you can find yourself experiencing burnout, which is a miserable thing. Personally, when I am burnt out, I dissociate– it feels like you’re watching yourself from the first person, as though you were merely an observer in your daily life, rather than an active participant. The advantage of this state of “autopilot” is that I can push through daily life, even if I am overextending myself. The obvious consequence, though, is that it can be easy to lose yourself in your daily routine. Do note that dissociation is a common thing, and just about everyone will experience it at least a few times in their life. But, if you feel that way all the time, that is when it becomes a problem. It took me a very long time to realize that I had a problem with dissociation as it was (and still is) a coping mechanism of mine. While not everyone may relate with dissociating as a reaction to burnout, everyone will develop coping mechanisms to deal with burnout and daily strife. The important thing is that you must be able to identify when you are using these coping mechanisms, and then be able to be honest with yourself; is this healthy?

The ability to check in with yourself is an important life skill that often gets swept under the rug. Certainly, nobody, throughout all my years, of education taught me to ask myself, “Hang on a minute. Who am I? Is this what I want?” and I expect that many will relate to that notion. From a young age, many feel pressured to do well in school, and while education is an important thing, it’s almost important to understand why you do the things you do in life. Don’t just go to college because it’s the expected thing to do, go to college because it’s what you want to do. It can have a sizable difference in the actual quality of your education; a study from 2018 found that students who engage an activity out of their own free will were less likely to be exhausted and cynical, and are more efficient when compared to those who engage in an activity due to external pressures (such as parental pressure). Unfortunately, the reality is that many students are unable to pursue what they want because of external pressures, and so are subject to higher levels of burnout. Therefore, here are some tips I can offer on how to deal with burnout.
  • Recognize how burnout feels for you. It’s an important level of self awareness to have, to acknowledge when you are feeling run down. It will help you pace yourself and will, in the long run, benefit your mental health, which will translate into more productivity. Burnout can be procrastination, a loss of motivation, imposter syndrome, general exhaustion and depression, or really any number of things. It’s a general sense of resentment towards your work (or study) that impedes your daily function. Remember– it’s totally normal; nobody can devote 100% of themselves to something 100% of the time. 
  • Find something to break up your daily schedule. Oftentimes burnout can result from a monotonous schedule. Thus, introducing something new will keep things interesting and can be a good distraction from a busy schedule. It could be a new hobby, or impulsive plans with your friends, or just anything different; but it will help energize you and make you more productive. 
  • Avoid negative people. It’s a pretty general thing, but the thing with burnout is that it drains your energy and your motivation, and dealing with toxic people will only waste the energy you have left. 
  • Get some sleep. We’re all guilty of it; sleep deprivation is a pretty regular thing for most students. For most people in general, too. But the impact a good night’s sleep can make is woefully underrated. There’s a point of exhaustion where studying just won’t help anymore, and you’re better off getting some rest instead. 

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By Sebastian Ortega

Sebastian is a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he majors in Fashion Business Management. He’s worked behind the scenes of New York Fashion Week with the company Nolcha Shows, and in the office of Elrene Home Fashions. Some day, he hopes to be able to make his own claim in the fashion industry by starting his own business.

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