OPINION: It’s the most horrible time of the year: Burnout season


Lydia Taylor Headshot

Lydia Taylor

Midterms have come and gone, deadlines are piling up and the holidays are around the corner. I bet many of you had stress just reading that sentence and then reminded yourselves of everything you have to do today … and tomorrow, and the day after that. 

We all get to that point in the semester when the pressure feels overwhelming, like the walls are closing in. And it’s absolutely normal — more than 60 percent of college students said they’ve experienced intense anxiety in the past year, according to a 2018 report from the American College Health Association. 

Hours of sleep decrease, eating habits drift into the abyss and you’re trying to avoid burnout — the state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive stress. You’re balancing four to five — or maybe even more — classes, plus a job and whatever extracurriculars you’re involved in. It’s getting harder and harder to find that motivation to get up and get your to-do list finished. Maybe it’s the changing of seasons, or maybe it’s other external factors working against us.

Our minds tend to be our own worst enemy. We expect the best from ourselves — and we should — but sometimes it gets to a point that we start to hurt rather than encourage ourselves. To sacrifice health for unrealistic expectations is what starts the downfall. 

Please be kinder to yourself; you deserve that. Your body deserves better, such as exposure to fresh air instead of holding yourself up in the library or in your room all day. Reach out to friends. Tell your family. Talk to the professors. They’ve been through it — they understand. Don’t let these emotions well up inside; your feelings are valid and you need to tell yourself that. While the air becomes cold and life turns from colorful flowers to snow, it’s a reminder that there’s still light in what could seem to be the darkest of times. 

The holiday season is coming up. Lights will soon bring color to the streets and glow in store windows and houses. The smells of the holidays will surround you and for a few moments, you’ll feel grounded again. Take in the season and know what you’re doing is enough. You’re trying your best, and that’s all you can do. The fact of the matter is your assignment, exam, project or thesis is going to be done soon — there is a finish line. 

How fast you cross that line doesn’t matter.

Contact her at [email protected].