Constant exhaustion isn’t trendy or cute. 

Pandemic or no pandemic, papers, exams, quizzes, presentations, friends, food, and sleep complete a day in the life of a college student. Besides classes, many students are involved in extracurricular activities both on and off campus. It is not uncommon for college students to feel stressed out and reach their breaking point. Add a pandemic on top of a student’s identity, and they are bound to reach far beyond their breaking point. Burnout, an extended period of time in which someone experiences exhaustion and lack of interest in activities, resulting in a decline in self and study performance. 

Lucas Araiza/The Occidental

Pre coronavirus, the culprit of student burnouts included but were not limited to:

  • Assignment overload
  • Time management issues
  • Lack of motivation

On top of pre-existing burnout culprits, COVID-19 student burnouts include:

  • Anxiety over zoom classroom performance
  • Anxiety over remote work
  • Staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time
  • Worry over social interaction/isolation
  • Worry over loved ones physical and mental health
  • Fear of virus exposure

There is a direct linkage between the flood of emotions and social isolation students are now feeling, increasing the likelihood of students accessing burnout more quickly.

 I’m here to give you some tactics on how to curve that breaking point.

Talk-therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat anxiety disorders. Dr. Seth J. Gillihand on Psychology Today, reports that those who participated in self-treated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and learned the aspects of talk therapy, such as talking through different emotions and recognizing a pattern of those emotions, “felt substantially better.” Maybe not like “a new person,” but a “noticeably less anxious or depressed version of themselves.” 

It is so important to take a step back and focus on yourself, especially during these uncertain times of the pandemic. Here are some ways to stay in touch with loved ones while maintaining social distancing:

  • Video chatting
  • Scheduling phone calls
  • Letter writing

Our nervous systems require that social interaction!

The last thing you want to risk is a mid-semester burnout. Here are some ways to recognize burnout:

  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Feeling emotionally drained
  • Unable to meet deadlines
  • Disconnection from self and others
Maksim Tkachenko From iStockPhoto

 Taking as little as five minutes a day to reflect and breathe can help reduce your stress levels.

Here are a few proven tactics that can help prevent burnout:

Meditation

One of the best ways to reduce stress is meditation. According to a Mayo Clinic article written by Mayo Clinic Staff, “Meditation can help produce a deep state of relaxation and bring tranquility to the mind.” 

During meditation, you focus on your breath and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind. 

Setting as little as 5-10 minutes each day will enhance your physical and emotional well-being.

Here are some things to think about while sitting in reflection:

  • Reflect on your day… what was good about it?
  • What can you do to improve tomorrow?

Continue to take deep breaths to calm your nervous system. 

A daily meditation practice helps decrease stress throughout your entire life.

Repeating a mantra, praying, and focusing on love and gratitude contribute to stress elimination as well. 

Having trouble focusing on your breathing? Need some guidance? 

Here are a few free mindfulness applications that help slow down that monkey mind:

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Insight Timer

All three of these applications are accessible to all Apple or Android users.

The applications include different guided meditations that focus on specific problems that you may have to help you through those hard times.

Youtube also has a free 6-hour meditation playlist with different relaxing sounds that can help focus and calm your mind.

Image by Dave Asprey

Time Management

We all require a certain balance between work and relaxation in order to maintain stress levels. Balance can best be accomplished through a values-driven time management process.

How to obtain balance:

  • Go through each task and schedule a time to get it done. Using a planner or calendar is a really great way to organize and tackle your daily tasks. 

Allotting specific times throughout your day will help you prioritize and get what you need to done in a timely fashion.

It is important to prioritize yourself above all if you are wanting to stay far away from burnout. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by life stressors, take a step back and BREATHE!