Life&Style writer Anastasis Mauriac discusses the concept of burnout, giving her top tips for how to prioritise periods of rest
‘Burnout’ is a concept that implies being devoid of energy to the point of feeling sad and empty. It usually comes from an accumulation of tasks and activities carried out without resting. The lack of motivation due to the intense fatigue leads to days of rest which can feel very lonely and depressing.
Our culture pushes people to be productive at all times, not only in terms of work but also concerning our social life. The pressure of productivity can imply always doing activities with people, interacting and being the happiest when the most surrounded. This is emphasised by social media, where people post their accomplishments and activities literally all the time – and they never post their ‘downs’ which might feel overwhelming.
Burnout can come from studying/working too much, doing too many activities with people, or both. As an international first year student living in student accommodation, social life can easily become exhausting. Going back to rest with family is not an option because of the lockdown/covid restrictions on travel. Unfortunately, they have not been able to visit me and see where I live since I arrived in September, and my Spanish flatmate was not even allowed to go home for the Christmas holiday as she tested positive several times. Thus, we do not even have the possibility to go back to our parents to chill out.
Living in student accommodations is amazing for many reasons. You get to live independently from your parents without being entirely alone because you live with students from your age-group. Being with each other 24/7 creates solidarity and you soon become a united community struggling together under the workload and the detachment from your parents.
But, it can get exhausting if you have FOMO, and do not really know how to say no to social events. If you are lucky (or not), people are always partying in your accommodation block. Therefore, even when you want to sleep and you managed to say no to every invitation, you still cannot rest because there are people singing (or screaming) ‘let it goo ! Let it goooooooo’ at 3am on a Thursday night. Just an example of course !
So, how can we resist the pressure of socializing more ?
1. Take a Social Media Break
You can start by choosing some days in the week where you are not allowed to check your social media apps. If that is too hard, you can put on a monitor that closes the apps after a certain amount of time, which you decide beforehand. Otherwise, if you have FOMO, you can choose to ‘hide’ the stories and/or posts of your friends if you do not want to be aware of what they are doing at all times. To do that, you go on your list of followers and click on mute to either mute stories, posts or both. Don’t worry – they don’t get a notification. Also, only follow accounts that make you feel good about yourself and that inspire you.
2. Decide on a schedule of nights-out
When you feel burned-out socially, you need time on your own to recharge. If you do not want to go out, I recommend watching a good show or a movie, journaling, drawing, playing video games, sleeping and masturbating. If you are sick of staying in your room, go for a walk either by yourself or with someone you feel very comfortable with. Choose someone with whom you do not need to exert social energy – someone you feel comfortable sharing silences with.
Surround yourself with people who seem like family. I know that as a student, it can be hard because your family is not around you. But the people you hang out with soon become family. Or if you live close to home, you can go home for a few days to recharge for a bit.
Burning out is a serious matter that can be very intense and should be treated as soon as possible. Try to listen to your body and recognise the signals, which can include physical and mental fatigue and a strong desire to be left alone. I know it is hard sometimes to say no to your friends, and you fear you might miss out on some events, but do yourself a favour and rest. You will feel proud and your body will thank you later for this treat by making you feel more positive and energized.
If you want to watch a fun and interesting youtube video about this topic, I recommend the youtuber Eve Cornwell : ‘The toxic productivity echochamber’
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