Solid blue background with a black outline of a brain in the center with a man sitting on the brain holding his head with his hands. On the top left corner is a crescent-shaped moon with z’s, the bottom left corner has two women practicing yoga, the top right has an iPod with music playing, and the bottom right corner has a large stack of books.

Mid-Semester Burnout

By Allison Schroeder
Web Content Contributor

It is the middle of our spring semester. You might feel like you have run out of motivation,  are overwhelmed by assignments and life, are easily irritated by simple things, or maybe, feel exhausted even after hours of sleep. You are not alone.     

Burnout is a real problem that I and many others have been feeling. Since the pandemic hit, burnout rates have been rising across the nation. Before the pandemic, burnout was present, but not in the same capacity as it is now.

My burnout began after classes went virtual and social interactions were minimized. Over time, it would fluctuate from being overly present to barely noticeable.

When the university gave us spring break or winter break, I took those days to do anything but schoolwork. Unfortunately, I would still have to fill out scholarship or internship applications, pick up textbooks and work on assignments or projects that were due immediately after the break.

The weight of schoolwork is consuming, especially if you have high expectations for yourself.  From my earliest memories of being in school, I remember always having high expectations for myself. 

I would do anything I could to learn more, but now I feel constantly drained or overwhelmed by assignments. Sometimes, I lay down in bed to recharge like reusable batteries.

Recently, I escaped the overly present feeling of burnout by simply cutting my hair and allowing myself to rest more. This method may not work for everyone, but it has for me because it was a long-awaited item on my to-do list. Feeling the sense of accomplishment helped pull me out of the dark.

Solid light pink background with the words “Never underestimate the power of a good haircut” in all caps. The word “power” is highlighted in hot pink to emphasize how powerful one may feel after a haircut. There is a pair of black scissors on the left-hand side of the text.
“Never underestimate the power of a good haircut.” Photo by Allison Schroeder.

Several methods I have used, or I have seen are used as treatment, include communicating with others, reevaluating priorities with work or school, exercise and maintaining a healthy diet.

Sleep-in

Solid light pink background with a woman who is sleeping and snoring in the center of her pillow. She has z’s floating above her head to represent her sleeping state.
A woman getting a good night’s sleep. Photo by Allison Schroeder.

Burnout often leaves me feeling drained and out of energy. I find that sometimes sleeping in helps bring out my energy or brings me to a better mood naturally rather than turning to coffee or other caffeinated options.  Usually, when you get the sleep your body wants, it will function better.

Listen to music

Solid light pink background with a woman listening to music through her headphone and multi-colored (orange and blue) music notes above her head.
A woman listening to her favorite music through her headphones while drinking a cup of hot coffee. Photo by Allison Schroeder.

Commonly, burnout causes the absence of productivity.  Listening to my favorite music helps put me in a better mood and raises my level of productivity.

Recently, I turned to Taylor Swift’s album “Red” to help me feel productive. Music holds a lot of emotions and is known to help through everyday stressors like burnout.

Practice self-care

Solid light pink background with a man and two women with face masks on their face in the center. Above them says “take care of your mind.”
A man and two women practicing self-care by using face masks to relax and take care of their minds. Photo by Allison Schroeder.

Practicing self-care by taking a long shower, bath, putting on a face mask, or even just cutting your hair is vital for your mental and physical health. 

Watch your favorite movies or shows

Solid light pink background with a woman sitting on a round rug with two pillows behind her. She has her computer on a small table in front of her while she is eating a bowl of cereal.
A woman sitting on the ground eating cereal while watching her favorite movie. Photo by Allison Schroeder.

Taking time to relax by watching your favorite movie or shows helps take your mind off what put you into burnout. To help my burnout, I have been watching “Gilmore Girls” because it helps take my mind off classes, job applications and everyday stressors.  Watching this show allows me to recoup after doing work, then I can work on more work because I feel relaxed.

Take time to go outside

Solid light pink background with a man in a yellow hammock holding a computer. Beneath the hammock is a rug and a potted plant alongside several small items like a stool and coffee press.
A man hammocking outside while doing his homework. Photo by Allison Schroeder.

Taking the time to go outside is vital.  I have made it a goal to go outside at least once a day.  I even go if it is to look around my backyard or check the mail.

Featured image by Allison Schroeder.

I find that fresh air, listening to the birds and observing everyday occurrences help me ground myself.  Being outside reminds me that even when things get rough, I can still push through. 

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