At a school that places as much emphasis on academics as Boston College, students are no strangers to burnout. As far back as I can remember, school burnout has been my worst enemy. The feeling of pushing off your exhaustion to write one more paragraph or finish one more page of reading before your class has become second nature to me. In high school, I drove myself to the brink of insanity and back to get good grades, and I brought that habit with me to BC. Given my long history with burnout, I hope to give you some of my tips and tricks for freeing yourself from this toxic relationship, especially as the end of the semester approaches. I’ve found that it has helped me deal with the emotional – and sometimes physical – stress of finals season and its good friend: burnout.
Check in with yourself
I know the “That Girl” mentality – the mentality that not having a clean routine means you’re a failure – has been trending on TikTok and Instagram, and while I’m its main enemy, I have to admit that some of the habits he fosters have helped me deal with my own burnout. First, as a communications major and journalism minor, it’s no surprise that I love to write, so journaling in the mornings and evenings has helped rid me of some of those feelings of exhaustion. A journal is bound to listen to your every thought and feeling, and you know it won’t betray your trust. It’s like a therapist but much cheaper. If you don’t like journaling, I strongly suggest doodling or creating a comfort reading list, as these activities allow you to take a moment to control yourself throughout the day. These activities help me channel my emotions in a positive way, rather than bottle them up.
Another great way to check in with yourself is to take a walk. Whether it’s a lap around the Res or a ride in the Quad between study sessions, getting out and moving your body is a great way to manage stress. It reminds you of things outside your O’Neill study cubicle or the dim lighting in your dorm study room. Breathing in the fresh air and basking in the sun gives you time to remind yourself that you are more than a caffeinated, anxious work machine.
Create routines that motivate you
If you’re like me, your TikTok For You page understands you better than anyone. So when @thejarr came across my FYP with his list of rules for a first date, I had to give him a follow up. Since then, Eli Rallo, aka @thejarr, has risen to the top of my list of favorite influencers. She gives the best advice in the most hilarious and charming way, and my favorite is to find a routine that makes you horny. Whether you’re looking forward to having your favorite breakfast in the morning or attending a Taylor Swift-themed spin class at the Plex, finding something that makes you want to start your day can really change your perspective. When I started creating these routines, I confess that I thought it was going to be silly and that I would fall back into my burnout. But, doing things that excite me first thing in the morning has completely changed my day-to-day attitude.
I say this not to show how much of a morning person I am now – a part of my personality that my mother still finds incredible – but to give you an idea of how easily you can change your attitude. All my friends think I’m crazy for being at the Plex at 6:30, but it’s something I really appreciate. My routine gives me a sense of balance and excitement for the sole reason that I love what I do every morning when I wake up. If you’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, a routine gives you the chance to regain a sense of normalcy, especially when you’re doing things you find fun.
School burnout isn’t a fun feeling, but I hope these tips will help you find a way to deal with the inevitable stress that comes with the end of the semester. With finals approaching and deadlines drawing closer, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with work and study, but it’s important to remember that your mental and physical health should always come first. Even as I write this, I am experiencing one of the worst school burnouts I have felt in a while. I’m still learning to take care of myself, but doing these things has helped me find a sense of stability even when I feel like I have an endless pile of work waiting for me. It can be difficult trying to balance your schoolwork, social life, and taking care of yourself, but hopefully these tips can help guide you through your school burnout.