It’s about that time, the most stressful week of the whole year, finals. Yes, the time where your hair starts falling out, your nail biting habit returns and your mental health takes a nosedive. If you didn’t know, these are the side effects of burnout.
According to Webster, burnout is the exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. And I get it, this year you said you were going to do better, be organized and study hard. but school has been going on for four and a half months and you only have two pencils left, loose leaf papers thrown in your bookbag, and twelve missing assignments.
But first, know that you are not alone in your panic. More and more students are feeling the pressures of school, and that can lead to much more serious things like suicide, self-harm, anxiety and depression. Just a heads up, if you are dealing with any of these things because of stress caused by school, my methods may not be enough.
And this doesn’t necessarily mean sitting “criss-cross apple sauce,” while listening to rain music and humming. This can just be sitting on the bus on your way to school. Close your eyes and try to focus your breathing. It can be hard to do well and concentrate when there are a million things bouncing around in your head, so when meditating you should try and clear your head and focus on the day you have ahead.
First try breathing in for four seconds, holding for five, and exhaling for seven. Address everything you are stressed about and chose to focus on what you can do to relieve your stress, and banish the stress you feel about the things you can’t do anything about.
Take A Mental Health Day
A mental health day is just as the name suggests, a day that you stay home from school for the betterment of your mental health. Although this one can be tricky because sometimes missing school and being late with assignments can add on the stress. So if you can, make sure you take a day where there aren’t any major test or quizzes. With that being said sometimes mental health breaks are something that simply cannot be planned. If you feel like you are on the verge of a burnout, remember that your mental health should be above all. Take your mental health day to do all of the things you have been too stressed out to do before, such as face masks, organizing school work, cleaning your room, meal prep, etc. Set yourself up to do well academically without stress.
Communication With Teachers
This is the best advice I can give. Your teachers are people too, and they probably deal with just as much, if not more stress than we do. Communicating your woes can be all of the difference. I strongly recommend giving your teacher a heads up if you struggle with burning out. I know from personal experience that building a relationship with your teachers makes it easier for them to understand a late or missing assignment.
Now I know what your thinking, the last thing you need is more work to do, but hear me out. A lot of my procrastination comes from coming home at 3:00 p.m. and being exhausted from school, going to sleep early and waking up at 8:00 p.m., then doing homework until 2 a.m. just to have to go to school in four hours. However, joining clubs, having a sport, or fine art to do after school could give structure to your daily schedule. When you’re not just crashing after school, you can have a designated time to do the things that are causing your stress.
Have Some Perspective
Look, I get the whole “If I don’t do good in high school, I won’t get into a good college, then I won’t get a good job, and I will be homeless and die” scenario but life is not a Direct TV ad. There are so many different ways to live life and college may not be the right path for everyone. If you do decide that you want to go to college, the one bad grade you got on your last test isn’t going to ruin your whole entire GPA. Just remember to check in with yourself and make sure stress due to school isn’t triggering your mental health. You got this.