Combating burnout


Lauren Wood

A student is stressed and overwhelmed with work.

Kavya Desikan, Editor

We’re finally halfway through midterms and have survived the pre-midterm test rush. For many, this four-day weekend that you envisioned as a productive four days that you can use to knock your last three midterms out of the park may have just ended up as a weekend spent on the couch watching TV or texting friends.

Some of you may wonder why you even do this. You are aware you have work, but for some reason, it seems impossible to lift yourself from your comfy spot to go grab your textbook to skim through its pages.

That may be because you are facing burnout. Three straight weeks of non-stop work can do that to a person.

Burnout was a term coined in the 1970s in reference to tired and stressed nurses, who were struggling professionally due to copious amounts of effort and energy into a job that offered little reward in its outcome. Now, this word is used to describe people across many professions and stages of life.

Quite frankly, getting burnt out is something that for me is quite common. I’ll stay up countless nights and lose hours of sleep just to put all my energy into my classwork, only to not get tangible results or rewards. It is a vicious cycle of learning, working, and performing that us students can get too caught up in, and before we know it, all our motivation is gone.

But how do we fix it? The answer honestly isn’t too difficult. Stop putting too much energy into things that you don’t enjoy.

Quite simply, I’m asking you to apply Marie Kondo’s philosophy of cleaning to your everyday life:

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”

Obviously, as students, we can’t always just throw away what doesn’t spark joy. I don’t think the Guidance Department would enjoy me disposing of my Algebra class. However, as I said before, choose what you put your energy toward and prioritize. So often, we associate our negative feelings towards a class with low performance and actually end up spending more time studying the classes we hate rather than the ones we like, even if our grades are fairly decent in the class. It’s time to stop studying physics for five hours when you know that after hour two, you’re not retaining anything. Stop feeling obligated to say yes to tasks you can’t handle. Prioritize what you love doing.

Little changes like this are more fulfilling than they appear, and you make actually end up seeing that you perform better when you focus on what sparks joy, while still giving importance to things that don’t.