How to beat burnout

Jillian Flack, Reporter

With the end of the semester approaching, many students are experiencing burnout as they anxiously await for the semester to come to a close.

“Burnout is a syndrome of work-related stress that has not been successfully managed. It typically involves feelings of exhaustion and depletion of energy, a sense of distance, negativism, or cynicism toward your job, and reduced professional efficacy,” Mary Beth Spitznagel, a psychology professor, said.

Spitznagel emphasized that burnout applies to jobs and careers, and she said students can experience burnout with academics.

One’s mindset and mental state can affect their level of burnout from varying periods of their life.

“I do think that burnout is common among college students, and the COVID pandemic has contributed a lot to feelings of burnout,” John Updegraff, a psychology professor, said. “When people feel disconnected from others at work and school, it’s common to see work and school as just a source of continual demands, without any of the benefits that can come from social relationships and connections with other co-workers or fellow students.”

Instead of constantly focusing on schoolwork, someone said a way students can improve their mental state can be to spend more time with their friends and family. Not only can it help them to feel supported, but it can also help to ground them when they are particularly stressed out or exhausted from school.

For many, stopping burnout before it starts is the key to remaining at optimal performance.

“Setting up schedules and manageable goals for studying and sticking to them can help avoid the disengagement that can often come with feelings of burnout,” Updegraff said.

A study place away from one’s typical environment can also help improve their performance. For example, students can go to the library or to local coffee shops, such as Last Exit or Scribbles, to help clear their minds while they complete their work.

“Burnout can also increase when people don’t feel a sense of control over the demands,” Updegraff said.

Updegraff instead encourages students experiencing burnout to focus on the things they feel are in their control, such as setting studying goals and creating schedules to get different things done in a timely manner.

“All too often students might try to cram work into every waking minute of their lives, without scheduling some time to just relax and recharge — whether it’s with a favorite activity, some time with friends,” Updegraff said.

Jillian Flack is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].