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Overcoming Burnout

Don’t let midterm season beat you; these tips will help you fight back.

Darcy Gallagher

With the pandemic’s continued presence in our lives, midterm season upon us, and the stressors of in-person school, there has been an increased emphasis on “self-care.” Although the practice of self-care is essential, can it really cure and prevent burnout?

From trivial things like your gym routine to school stress, you begin to do a lot of research when you experience burnout as often as I do. I may not be an expert, but I have picked up a few helpful techniques to successfully overcome and cope with burnout that I believe everyone should know.

In its simplest form, burnout is mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged states of stress. Burnout happens when you overload or overwork yourself to the point where you can’t do anything.

We’ve heard it happening from CEOs to YouTubers, but how does one overcome it?

Recognize Your Signs

Look for the signs of burnout early on. Ask yourself whether the uncomfortable, anxious, or stressful feelings you are suppressing are beginning to take a toll on your mental well-being.

Are you putting too much pressure on yourself to take on more than you can handle?

Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by your to-do list while also continuing to worry you aren’t accomplishing enough is the biggest tell-tale sign of burnout. I have become well-acquainted with this feeling and have learned to take a step back every time I find it taking over my thoughts.

If you have never experienced this before, research it. Learning about burnout and ways to overcome it serves as a great tool in future prevention.

Podcast episodes such as “burnout” on Emma Chamberlain’s Anything Goes or “The Cure For Burnout (hint it isn’t self-care) / Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski” on TED Talks Daily are great for information about the stress cycles leading to burnout and active ways to combat it.

Give Yourself A Break

Let yourself be in a funk. Recognize that you are burnt out, don’t continue to pursue the thing causing it.

The most crucial step to overcoming burnout is allowing yourself to take a break. Too many times, we associate laziness with exhaustion. No, it doesn’t mean you are lazy; it means your mind and body cannot continue in your current state of being.

It takes time to become re-inspired to tackle the never-ending to-do list. Give yourself that time. Allow yourself to do whatever it is you’re craving — sleep, rest, watch TV, or even, yes, do absolutely nothing (a terrifying idea to the workaholics).

Ask For Help

We have always understood strength as the ability to take on incredible amounts of work and responsibility, but what if we missed the whole point?

Is strength not having the courage to know when to ask for help?

Thinking I can do everything myself has always been a weakness of mine. Connection and sharing support is the key to overcoming burnout, according to Emily and Amelia Nagoski on TED Talks Daily. We are stronger together, which is why expressing how you feel to loved ones and asking for help during a burnout is important.

The pandemic has only added to isolation and a sense of premature independence. Look to those you trust to aid in releasing some of the stress.

Fix The Relationship With Your Stressor

When I’m stressed, it’s easier to look for immediate relief, which for me is exercise. This technique has helped release physiological stress; however, it does not always address what’s going on. Understanding the internal causes of your burnout will help you reduce the chance of it happening again.

Do you realize you are unhappy with your situation? Could it be that you took on too much? Did you put too much pressure on yourself, saying “yes” to too many things? Whatever it may be, take the time to sit in your uncomfortable emotions and figure out how to approach your stressor in a new way.

Remember, when dealing with burnout, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself grace and patience.


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