Tips for Avoiding Burnout

All of a sudden, it’s cold, wet, cloudy and Week Seven; it’s understandable that you might want to retire from campus each day to huddle up at home around your toasty, roaring Week Seven burnout. Midterms are over, the Pathos submission window for Fall is closed, and finals are still a few weeks away: it can be tempting to give in to the feeling that there’s just. too. much. Perhaps we can coax you away from the fireplace of burnout with a few bright and invigorating ideas for taking care of you so that you can take care of Fall Term. We’re ready to try!

Getting enough rest, eating healthy, and keeping up with an exercise routine are often touted as great ways to help avoid burnout during periods of stress. Below, you’ll find a quick list of some additional creative ideas to help you manage stress and stave off end-of-term burnout:

  • Increase your diet of positive emotions: Paula Davis-Laack of Psychology Today says, “Studies show that increasing your diet of positive emotion builds your resilience, creativity.” Notice the good things happening around you – whether it’s a classmate’s delightful presentation, a smile from a stranger, or even just a well-made cup of coffee, take note of the things that make you feel good and let the negatives pass you by.

  • Make an “escape list”: If you’re feeling stuck in a situation, brainstorm a list of the different ways you could potentially escape that situation. Seth Simonds of Lifehack writes that, “In a work context, your escape list might include things like turning in a final presentation or asking for a raise. It might also include smaller things like submitting your resume to a new opportunity or drafting a letter of resignation!” An escape list can include a combination of tactics you might follow up on and those you won’t. Either way, it can help you contextualize your position and dig you out of the feeling that you’re stuck.

  • Designate an anti-burnout buddy: Vanessa Loder of Forbes recommends picking an anti-burnout buddy to help you stay oriented to your goals. If you’ve already created an action plan or to do-list, share the details with your anti-burnout buddy and keep them up to date on your progress: “Ask him or her to hold you accountable by checking in to make sure you’ve followed through. Getting support and setting clear action steps will help you implement these simple practices with greater ease.”

  • Joy breaks!: “Joy breaks are mini-activities that will renew you by taking your mind off of work for a few minutes,” explains The Successful Academic. Bookmark a few of your favorite cute baby animal YouTube videos and treat yourself to a few minutes of pure joy. Take a snack break after each task or segment of a task is complete. Indulge in a few well-time, well-planned, and sanity-sanctioned frivolity every now and then to give your mind a renewing change of pace and focus on something small that makes you genuinely happy.

  • Airplane-mode yourself: “Set a time each day when you completely disconnect,” instructs HelpGuide. Simple as that: set your cell phone to airplane mode, turn off your wi-fi, hide the remote, and give yourself a chance to disengage from emails, notifications, news feeds, and chatter. This can help you to limit your procrastination and your impulse to keep working without a break. It also invites you to carve out opportunities to connect with friends or classmates in person.

You got this!