Are You Already Burnt Out? Burnout?
Historically speaking: it has never been easier to slack off. Academic motivation has dwindled as remote learning has become the norm. It is incredibly easy to disappear into the technological abyss– to mute yourself and switch off the camera. Students find it incredibly tempting to snooze the alarm reminding them to tune into the Zoom. Sleepers cross their tired fingers in hopes the teacher won’t call the names displayed in the phantom-like grey boxes. Burnt out snoozers double cross their hearts in hopes they will rise from their stupor long enough to bounce off a half-hearted response. The most burning question in my burnt out head is,
“It’s the beginning of the semester. Why do I feel so unmotivated and overwhelmed?” I ought to feel refreshed from the break! Yet… I don’t. This phenomenon is called “burnout”. According to helpguide.org, “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”
A global pandemic and a rigorous liberal arts education do not compliment one another. Even after a month-long break, returning to school feels incredibly premature. Students are perpetually in a state of intellectual exhaustion. At this degree of burnout: it is not unusual to stop caring about your work, and to find that everyday tasks produce an intolerable level of boredom. I think it is safe to say that Zoom students often find themselves in a productivity purgatory– not fully focused and not fully distracted. No longer can school be thought to exist in a specific window of time, it is a 24 hour bed-bound activity. One that can be leisurely completed as you spoon soggy cereal into your mouth at 2am, while watching a pre-recorded lecture and researching hypnopedia in a side tab.
- learning by hearing while asleep or under hypnosis.
Although burnout symptoms may be mild in the beginning– when ignored… they get worse. Sleepiness turns into laziness. Boredom turns into apathy. B’s turn into C’s. Interestingly, physical health is closely intertwined with mental health. To wishfully believe your amotivational symptoms are centralized in your mind, is to be sorrowfully mistaken. Burnout can lower your immune system causing you to catch colds more easily. So, let this sink in: resting is productive! Think of your brain activity in terms of a HIIT workout, it is possible to do things more efficiently and effectively in a shorter window of time. If you don’t hop off the academic treadmill set on the slowest speed at an incline of zero– you will find yourself lulled to sleep. Perhaps awoken by a sore throat, staring into the face of an untimely 10 day cold. Needless to say, a normal circadian rhythm and a diligent self care routine is key to preventing a slight physical illness or major mental breakdown.
If the symptoms depicted in this article resonate with you, just know: YOU AREN’T ALONE. Burnout is a result of high stress levels– it is incredibly common among college students. According to a National College Health Assessment more than 40% of college students experience above average stress levels. To ease the symptoms of burnout: get 8 hours of sleep a night, at least 30 minutes exercise, and primarily eat things that come from the ground. I would also suggest meditation. It has been proven that a short meditation practice can increase attention span in just 4 days. Mosaic has been having meditation events on Saturdays. Please pause the slow moving treadmill– walk away from your homework. Go outside, take a deep breath, and focus on your third eye. Give yourself temporary permission to procrastinate. Take the night off and get a good night’s sleep. Your overall health and wellbeing depend on it.