3 Ways to Beat Burnout and Build Positivity
We’ve all been there. Really, we have.
One more assignment, one more class, one more hour of work…
Schedules and routines can be grounding. They create good habits, help us feel safe in our environments and establish a sense of normalcy. But sometimes they work against us, and life can become tedious and monotonous, which can eventually lead to burnout.
And once you’ve hit the burnout stage, you feel it.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early spring, my internal clock has been stuck in March. The monotony is stacking up. But there are ways I’m working to relieve it.
While studying dance, I had professors who often talked about ways to make the same movement fresh, while still bringing control and maturity.
So for those of you experiencing a gray day or two (or even more), here are a few tips I’ve tried to follow to keep things fresh and foster a more positive mindset.
When You’re in a Rut, Accept It
This can be the hardest or easiest part of moving toward a different, more productive mindset.
When I start noticing I’m not as interested or motivated, it’s often deep into the semester or year. A big red flag for me is when I start pushing myself by saying, “Only one more.”
Sure, it gets me through the task, but it ends up pushing me past my boundaries and makes life feel as though it’s speeding by. I’m a junior, and already freshman year seems like yesterday.
Alternatively, when I realize I’m not as motivated or productive, I overcompensate for it by pushing myself to achieve more or then I have no idea how to get myself out of the whole I’ve dug.
The deeper you get into overwhelming dread and gloom, the harder it can be to recover, eventually leading to burnout.
As much as I try to prevent this feeling, it’s part of the circle of life. Personally, I now know that without boredom, there cannot be excitement. And more globally, others may be parading through a period of highs, while I’m trudging through a periods of lows. Life is all about balance.
Sometimes, we just have to experience the down times, accept them knowing they will pass, and take strides to make things better.
Find Inspiration, Take Some “Me” Time
When I’m in a rut and needing some sense of renewal, I’m drawn to people, ideas or things that inspire me. I might sit down to watch a TED Talk, chat with a friend or revisit my dancing goals.
Physical activity can stimulate the mind, too, so I enjoy getting into the flow at the gym and listening to my favorite playlist.
For you, that might mean experiencing art (a live show or digital viewing in the times of COVID-19), writing in a journal, watching a favorite movie or spending time with loved ones.
Whatever your choice for reenergizing yourself, be sure the experience truly fills your metaphorical “cup,” which is essentially taking care of your mental health.
If you’re needing more “me” time to refresh your mind, take a nap, relax in a warm bath or shower, breathe deeply and deliberately, or do calming exercises like yoga.
To me, it feels like our culture is quick to find respite in technology and endures too much stimulation without taking time to release.
Re-evaluate Where You Are and Adjust
If you’re feeling blah, this could be a great time to assess what is working and what could be improved upon in your life. A small change can make a world of difference.
For example, I recognize that I start pushing myself even more when feeling discouraged. Instead, I should probably take a deep breath and re-evaluate my priorities before overcommitting.
I also reflected and found that I spend too much time on social media. When overused, social media drains me of my time and energy. Cutting back can help curb negative feelings.
Taking time to reflect about your commitments, how you spend your time and what brings you joy can help you cut out the things that detract from your happiness and sprinkle in the stuff that makes you happy.
And If You Just Can’t Shake It
Following some of the above suggestions can help you switch to a more positive state of mind.
But they’re not always a solve for all people.
If you’re ever feeling that your burnout may be something more, reach out for help. Because you matter and you belong.
Available 24 hours a day in English and Spanish.
More Articles By Niche
Do These 5 Things to Make College Even More Memorable
Move beyond the classic college experience by participating these 5 things that are sure to make your four years some of the most unforgettable of your life.
5 Advantages of Going to College in the City
A big city college, or urban college, places you in the hustle and bustle of city life. Some urban colleges have buildings spread throughout the city, making the city feel like part of your college campus. Others are more contained. Either way, you’ll live and learn in close proximity to a major city.
Why Befriending Your Admissions Counselor Is So Important
Send thank-you notes. Send a plate of cookies. Get to know the people who support “their” students through the admissions process — and beyond. You’ll be glad you did.