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!
By CHRISTOPHER GUIA CORTES, GREISY HERNANDEZ, NATHEN ORTIZ