Productivity culture has led us to normalize working long hours, taking fewer breaks, and neglecting time for ourselves. We are pressured to be as productive as possible and feel ashamed if we are not; this has led us to feel guilty for relaxing. This constant pressure to be productive can cause an excessive amount of stress and lead to burnout. Burnout is feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted due to excessive hours of work. Burnout is different for everyone, but together we can share our experiences with burnout and learn from one another on ways to take care of ourselves and combat burnout.
Burnout can come from studying for an excessive amount of time every day without taking breaks! It is influenced by how we cope with stressful situations, most specifically with a build-up of assignments resulting from procrastination and otherworldly worries. Additionally, bad organizational habits and a poor diet can contribute to burnout. Burnout can also derive from overworking yourself in your work environment.
Burnout has numerous degenerative impacts on our overall physical and mental health. Regarding the psychological implications, burnout is consequential to feelings of anger, depression, irritability, and an overall negative contributor to a negative self-image. In essence, burnout’s negative physical impacts are derivative of the psychological, including but are not limited to overwhelming feelings of fatigue, insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other degenerative health factors. Burnout is attributed to other disease epidemics and social and racially marginalizing systems of oppression; nonetheless, academic burnout is indeed a setback that hinders student’s lives holistically, increases college dropout, and includes suicidal ideations or definite actions.
Although burnout is always a possibility, we can take steps to mitigate the effects.
Exercises to Combat Burnout
One of the exercises in Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck is a complete inventory of your work activities, personal commitments, and relationships.
- After making a list of your everyday activities, you have to rate each item on a scale of 1-10, based on how your body physically reacts to thinking about it.
- Do you physically tense up, get a heavy feeling in your stomach? Or do you feel light and energized?
- You can start with just one category, like relationships, work projects, or personal/leisure activities.
- How does each person/activity on your list make you feel?
- BONUS: (We are trying this) As a part of your weekly planning routine, answer this simple question.
- What will I say NO to this week? You don’t need to carry it all by yourself!
burnout – APA Dictionary of Psychology
Power Down: 4 Ways to Fight Digital Burnout
By CHRISTOPHER GUIA CORTES, GREISY HERNANDEZ, NATHEN ORTIZ
With all the exams, assignments, and studying that has to be done, being a student can sometimes take a toll on your mental health. Despite these academic obligations, caring for ourselves is one of the most important things we can do to assure our mental and physical well-being. Obtaining good grades should not come at the cost of your mental health, so here are some helpful tips that you can follow while studying!
Tips for studying and having a good semester/quarter!
- Pomodoro method: This method allows you to rest in between studying as it requires you to work for 25 minutes straight. Once completing a successful study session, you are able to reward yourself with a 5-minute study break. During these short breaks, we recommend that you drink water and have a light snack. It is important that we care for our bodies and one way we can do this is by staying hydrated and ensuring that we eat a full meal at least once a day.
- Be organized: Google Drive: Create folders and make tabs dedicated for each of your classes. Make sure you title your google document with the name of the assignment followed by the due date.
- Google Calendar: We recommend that you schedule your study times and be specific about what readings or tasks you aim to complete during that time. Additionally, at the beginning of the semester/quarter, make sure that you read your class syllabus and be mindful of upcoming deadlines. Staying organized by using a physical agenda or a platform like Google Calendar allows you to stay on track with any assignments you need to complete and allows you to schedule your time accordingly in order to avoid overbooking yourself.
- Reach out to resources and services at your school: Inquire about any accommodations made available through your school’s Disability Services Center that can offer you a reduced course load, extra time on exams/assignments, and priority registration for classes. Further resources such as the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Health Services (e.g. access to free therapy), and academic or major advisors, may further aid you through your college journey. Additionally, we encourage you to attend weekly tutoring, go to office hours, reach out to your peers, and keep an eye out for study jams that are hosted by student-led organizations for further academic help. These also make for good opportunities to meet new people and get in contact with certain organizations on Campus!
Lastly, be aware of your capacity:
Take note of ALL your roles in and outside of school. Practice saying no or allow yourself to take a mental health day off when you need it. Avoid cramming and burnout by being aware of your capacity, (DON’T OVERBOOK YOURSELF)! Ask for extensions, most professors and faculty will be understanding and willing to work with you, especially during this pandemic. We also recommend that you practice the art of skimming. No one expects you to complete all readings assigned to you so learning how to skim readings and focusing on the most important topics will allow you to get the main points of the readings assigned. Lastly, we urge you all to celebrate every win, no matter how small! Remember that what you are accomplishing as a student is no easy task so be nice to yourself!
“If you get tired, learn to rest not to quit” – Banksy
By ANAHI CRUZ BAUTISTA, DENI RODRIGUEZ
By: Let’s Go Team
An important factor in mental health is knowing what help you need and where you can find it. During this time of uncertainty, you might find yourself anxious, overwhelmed, and/or discouraged. They are all valid feelings. If these feelings continue for a long period of time, you might find some security in taking an online mental health assessment. By taking a mental health screening/ assessment, you are opening yourself to resources and support that will help you throughout your college career and after.
Mental health screenings are short quizzes that tally up your score and give you a quick analysis of what you might be feeling and if they are symptoms of a mental health condition. Below are some sites that do free online screenings:
- Mental Health America: features online mental screening tests in English and Spanish regarding anxiety, depression, postpartum depression, psychosis, eating disorders, and PTSD.
- American Mental Wellness: a hub of different screening tests where you can take multiple screenings from different medical sites regarding depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, abuse/dating violence/ domestic violence, and more.
Once you complete the screenings, both sites provide information regarding where to find resources corresponding to your results. Whether you find out you have symptoms of a condition or not, therapy is something students, especially first-generation students can partake in and take advantage of.
- CCC Health & Wellness Program: contains mental health resources for students attending community college, all across California, includes different articles, podcasts, and programs all accessible to students attending a CC
- Your College’s Wellness Center: Your college possibly offers mental health services at your Student Health/Wellness Center. Some colleges offer up to three sessions. Take advantage of them, their services are included in the tuition and fees you already pay for!
There are several resources out there to support your needs and you are worthy of all of them! Any step you take towards the betterment of your mental health is a big win for yourself, your mind and body, and those who care for you. We are ready to support you.
Our mental health and well-being are some of the most important parts of taking care of ourselves. Oftentimes we neglect our mental health because of other priorities, however, our well-being should always be a priority. The ongoing pandemic continues to cause us stress because of several contributing factors like work, school, and the political climate. If you have considered seeking therapy, we encourage you to. Therapy can be a great way for you to talk about your feelings without feeling judged. As first-generation BIPOC, it is even harder to find a therapist with whom we can relate or feel comfortable. Below are some sites where you can find Black and brown therapists.
Whole Brother Mission
- The Whole Brother Mission is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to equip men to be whole in every area of life. They do this by connecting men with licensed mental health professionals, life coaches/mentors, and resources to establish a better quality of life.
- They have a nationwide network of counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mentors, and life coaches with a variety of specializations to serve you best.
- If you are interested in their services or if the cost has kept you from getting additional support, please complete this form and a team member will be in contact within 48 hours.
The Boris Henson Foundation
- The Boris Henson Foundation has a mission to provide support and bring awareness to mental health issues that plague the Black community. Their vision is to eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the African-American community.
- If you are looking for a therapist or mental health services, check out their directory.
Latinx Therapist Action Network
- Latinx Therapist Action Network is an online platform and network of Latinx mental health practitioners honoring and affirming the dignity and healing of migrant communities marginalized by criminalization, detention, and deportation. They strive to make therapy accessible and affordable.
- If you are looking for a therapist, check out their Directory – LTAN.
- The therapists listed in this directory are committed to providing therapy or other mental health services for those in need on a sliding scale for a maximum of 12 sessions at this scale. The sliding scale starts at $25 and goes up to $75. The pricing will vary based on the agreement between the therapist and the client.
For more providers and services, check out these links:
Mental health has been a taboo topic for many years and seeking professional help was frowned upon. Fortunately, mental health is now a more widely accepted topic and it is now encouraged to seek professional help to start healing. Remember that seeking therapy does not mean that there is something wrong with you, it means that you are investing in a better version of yourself.
Immigrants Rising’s Mental Health Connector provides undocumented young people with psychological support. The experienced and culturally responsive mental health therapists volunteer to provide free and completely confidential services, tailored to meet the needs of each individual. All undocumented young people who reside in California and are comfortable conversing in English are eligible for the services.
Are you interested in receiving mental health support?
If you feel ready to receive mental health support, start by filling out this questionnaire. This questionnaire is to connect you with a qualified therapist who can support you. You are also welcomed to email the Mental Health Team for more information about this service, all inquiries are strictly confidential.
Disclaimer: this is not an emergency service. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, text HOME to 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255. Both services are free and available 24/7.
Are you interested in providing mental health support?
If you are a licensed mental health professional who is interested in volunteering your services, please fill out this questionnaire. You may also email the Clinical Director, Dr. Loren Krane, for more information about the service.
Visit Immigrants Rising webpage for more information.
By: Let’s Go
The holiday season is upon us! While this can be a time of celebration with family and friends, this can also be a stressful time for college students and their families. A lot of money and time goes into these celebrations that not everyone has the means for. In addition, for vulnerable students like low-income, houseless, and queer students this can be a time of stress and uncertainty.
However, in times like these, we can depend on community and mutual aid because we have each other’s back. Below we have listed different resources college students and their families can hopefully benefit from.
Food Banks: Offers free food such as non-perishables, fruits, and vegetables.
Find a Food Bank
California Food Banks
Shelters: If you are seeking emergency shelter or a safe place to stay during the holiday/ winter season, here is CA’s shelter directory:
Emergency and Homeless Shelters – United Way 211
California Homeless Shelters – California
COVENANT HOUSE CALIFORNIA – Serving homeless youth in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay area
Queer Resources: For some queer students, college is the perfect escape to find and embrace who they are without the fear of rejection. This can sometimes make going back home difficult. Below are LGBTQ resources like CSU centers, self-care guide, and county and statewide resources you can access.
LGBTQIA Centers | CSU
Holiday Gifts- Have a young child in your life? Here are some centers and organizations that host toy drives:
Get FREE Christmas Gifts & Food In California!
Free Christmas and holiday assistance Los Angeles County
By: Let’s Go
The holidays can be a stressful time for some and may even bring up feelings of sadness. It is normal to have these feelings and let them be felt. Knowing a couple of coping skills can help you keep grounded when anxious feelings come up.
Disclaimer: These are just tips and not actual advice from a health professional. This is not to replace a form of therapy.
If you are spending time with your family members this holiday season, you may know the feeling of being uncomfortable with some of the things they say or because of the way they act. This is normal. We do not have perfect families. Do yourself a favor and set boundaries with them. Although this can be a bit difficult, it is very well worth it.
- Recognize your triggers and predict them. A “trigger” is considered a difficult situation or event. Always try to be one step ahead of your triggers by:
- Knowing what they are
- Recognizing the emotions that are brought up
- How you can best take care of yourself
- How you plan to respond to it
- Know that “No” is not enough
- Some were taught that saying “no” is not polite or safe. However, “no” should always be enough. Other alternatives are “I feel uncomfortable,” “no, this is inappropriate,” “no, I am leaving,” or “I don’t want to have that conversation.” These alternatives are a better approach to saying “no” and clearly state your needs.
- Be clear about your needs and communicate them
- Identify your needs and boundaries in advance with others. We all have different limits and we have every right to set them. Once you have identified your limits, communicate them clearly and kindly.
Once you have established your boundaries, you should begin to learn to cope with them. Keeping a list of coping skills can help you stay calm when certain triggers appear. Here is a list of a few coping skills that may help you:
- Deep breaths and count to 10 slowly:
- Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. When you are ready, count to 10 slowly. If you prefer, count to 20.
- Write down your thoughts
- Have a journal where you can write down what is making you feel anxious, angry or upset. Writing down these thoughts gets them out of your head and can make it less daunting.
- Practice mindfulness
- Mindfulness can help ground yourself in the reality of what’s around you. Anxiety attacks can cause a feeling of detachment or separation from reality, practicing mindfulness can combat these anxious feelings as they approach or actually happen. Focus on physical sensations, such as digging your feet into the ground or feeling objects near you. These sensations ground you firmly in reality and give you an object to focus on.
- Engage in light exercise
- Walking and moving your body can remove you from a stressful environment and moving can help regulate your breathing. Moving around, whether it be by running, taking a nice stroll, or lifting weights, releases endorphins that relax the body and improve mood. Regularly exercising can help reduce anxiety over time.
- The 5-4-3-2-1 method
- The 5-4-3-2-1 method is a grounding technique and a type of mindfulness. It helps to direct your focus away from the source of stress. To use this method, you should complete the following steps slowly and thoroughly:
- Look for 5 different objects: think about them for a short while, are the colors bright? Is the object round or a different shape?
- Listen for 4 different sounds: think about where they came from and how they are different from each other
- Touch 3 different objects: consider if the object is hot or cold, how does the texture feel and what are they are used for
- Identify 2 different smells: it can be any smell, your coffee/tea, your soap, or your laundry detergent
- Look for 1 thing you can taste: notice the taste in your mouth, is it sour or sweet? How does the texture feel?
Setting Goals Being SMART
It’s the beginning of the new year! After 2022 feeling like an eternity, we all carry with us a sense of optimism that 2023 will bring positive change. Although there are external forces beyond our control, as students we can and should still continue planning for the future and setting goals.
You can set goals for anything! Your goals may regard academics, health, or other personal matters. Regardless of what your goals are, however, you can use a SMART approach to achieve them. Read below for tips on how to set and complete your objectives!
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Thinking through each of these encourages us to think about the aspects of our goals.
Be as specific as possible with your goal. What exactly do you want to be done? The clearer your objective is, the easier it will be to identify what you need to do.
Let’s say my goal is to be “be healthier,” this year. Health encompasses many aspects! With a goal like this, it may be hard to know where to begin. If I narrow my goal to sleeping more, it may seem more plausible than just “being healthier.”
Keep track of your goal. Find a way to measure or quantify your progress so you know whether or not you are moving forward. Remember that everyone and every goal will vary! How much I can achieve and how much I should achieve will depend on my personal capacity and target.
Going back to sleeping more as a goal, I can start by assessing where I am currently at. If I find that I only sleep 5 hours a night, what are the measurable steps I can take towards sleeping more. Can I start sleeping 6 hours next week, 7 hours the week after that, and then 8 hours after that? My timeline may end up differing, but I know I will have achieved my goal when I finally consistently sleep 8 hours a night.
Be realistic with what can be achieved. Is your goal something that is plausible given your constraints and resources? Of course, always shoot for the stars but take small and possible steps while you get there.
If I have poor sleeping habits, it may very well be impossible to change the way I sleep in a matter of a few days. I simply cannot go from sleeping 5 hours to a full 8 hours in a span of two days. I need to assess and change habits, get rid of obstacles, and more; therefore, I should step back and think about what actually can be done.
Make sure your goal matters to you. Are you trying to reach your goal because others want you to, or because you feel pressured to do so? As long as you deem your goal important, it is.
When speaking to a friend, I may find that they don’t think of sleeping more as a goal. Remember, it is your life, and you can do with your time what you think is worthwhile.
Set a timeline. Think about how long you would like to take to achieve your goal. Some timelines may be more flexible than others. Personal goals can be met whenever you want, but other goals like academics may be more restrictive. Whatever it is, make sure you are aware of the time you have available.
Being SMART helps you think of various aspects of your goals. As you think about goals this year and beyond, use these questions as guidance:
- What exactly do I want?
- How will I know I am achieving it?
- Is my goal within my reach?
- Does this goal matter to me?
- When do I want or need this goal accomplished?
2021 is here! Although it is a new year, 2020 left behind a lot of stress, anxiety, and anguish. If you could use some self-care and grounding tips, stick around because we got you covered! Immigrants Rising has come up with a grounding and self-care toolkit to get you started on your healing journey!
Practical Ways to Decrease Stress & Anxiety in Any Situation:
Mindfulness & Meditation
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety, develops awareness of the breath and body, and helps the mind focus on the present moment.
Grounding is a quick and effective way to reduce the intensity of emotions and anxiety. Use your five senses to soothe and reset your nervous system: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch.
Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of physical and emotional calmness/soothness. Check out Breathing Bubble, a guided breathing exercise.
In the mood for writing? Learn about your triggers and write down what they look and feel like. Next, begin journaling and thinking about what you need right now.
For the full PDF toolkit, click here.