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“Sports, and school work, and extracurriculars — it’s kind of hard to be able to maintain all of it. And after a while of pushing yourself so hard, like, when I get burnout, I just literally don’t feel like doing anything else and trying to do work is so hard and overwhelming.” 

VOX ATL hosted a podcast recording with teens from Savannah, GA, who wanted to talk about student burnout and dealing with stress, especially at school, and we’re excited to share it now as part of Stress Awareness Month and the Free Your Feels campaign

Avoiding Student Burnout with Free Your Feels [PODCAST]

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Listen on SoundCloud:

Hello, welcome to the Free Your Feels Podcast. Today we’re in Savannah, GA. I’m Tess Wacker, and this is my co-host Lia Span. 

Hi, I’m Lia Span, and welcome to the Free Feelings podcast! Today we’ll be getting into student burnout and dealing with stress and anxiety, and how to cope with them while being in school. 

Teens and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson introduce themselves. 

Host: So, have you guys ever experienced student burnout and what does that look like for you?

Teens: Somewhat, I would say. I mean it’s just, you know, [being] tired of academia. I don’t know if … it was middle school or what certain age I hit like, I just was disillusioned by school, and it wasn’t really fun for me anymore, so it felt more like work. 

For me it was mostly like, I have a lot of sports going on, and I also have a lot of rigorous teachers. So, trying to balance both of those and like, volunteering in my off time with my church and [the Savannah youth council] was really just like — I don’t know how to explain it but — definitely burnout. 

Sports, and school work, and extracurriculars — It’s kind of hard to be able to maintain all of it. And after a while of pushing yourself so hard, like, when I get burnout, I just literally don’t feel like doing anything else and trying to do work is so hard and overwhelming. I can’t clean my room, and it just sucks so bad. 

Yes, it’s just a load of anxiety and exhaustion and just a mental inability to focus. 

Mayor Van Johnson: Life is hard, life is difficult, and even at my age now — and I’m a little bit older than you all — you deal with things you’ve not seen before. And it’s all of these different types of pressure you just feel it all of the time. Young people feel it, adults feel it, and as an older person I think I probably have a little better coping skills, so I know it must be hard for young people that don’t have that life experience. 

Host: So I know that when I get burnout I usually…take a mental health break, so what are some of y’alls coping skills? How do you deal with that? Do you have people that help you?

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Yeah, because I’m not as positive as her, I take the effect of missing school on purpose, and listening to music, and you know, doing whatever. 

What I do, I just like, kind of like, keep my “con-state” away. Try to not let nothin’ like, affect me or you know, make me mad. 

[There’s] a TikTok trend where you just…get a plate and you write how you’re feeling and you just throw the plate so you don’t got to worry about how you’re feeling and stuff like that, get it over with. 

Playing games, letting loose.

What about you?

Talking to my friends. 

I mean, like, I would just say that…I go home you know chill, lay down, take a nap, something like that. 

I don’t know, I would say like, if you’re feeling…overwhelmed to get away from it for a little bit.

See, I just like, separate myself from people, or I just like, talk to a teacher…

You take a break. 

…and take a break outside. 

I like, go in my room and…listen to music, or I take a hot shower…and listen to music.

I just separate myself from everybody and listen to music, or…I just talk to one of my friends. …I’m comfortable around her to tell her anything, and she don’t judge me about nothin’. 

I mostly do a lot of box breathing*, and I go on walks with my dog. 

Host: Can you tell us what box breathing* is? 

It’s where you count in for five seconds and then release for seven seconds, those extra two seconds give you…a chance to push out the extra anxiety. 

If you are, you know, burned out, you should just do something you love, don’t think about it too much. If you are going to listen to music, don’t listen to music that relates to your situation; listen to music that’s going to distract your mind from it, because the more you’re gonna think about it, the worse it might get. 

Host: Do you deal with stress and anxiety as a 13-year old?

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Guest: Not really, I usually just give it up to my parents. They usually have to deal with it, as in like, I’ll just tell them about it and that’s really it. 

Host: So that’s how you cope. 


Host: That’s a coping mechanism for you, you talk to your parents about your stress and anxiety and your daily school life. 

I feel like self-talk [is the] best, more so…likely to help me get through anything I’m going through for real. 

Host: So self-talk? Like, talking with God? Like, what?

Guest: Nah, like, just like, talking to myself. Saying like, it’s going to be okay and looking at the positive aspects. 

My major is dance, and it does definitely help me with … student burnout because I get to express my emotions and I’m able to feel free and like, I just forget about school and just dance. 

…I play sports. And, it might seem weird but going to practice makes me happy, like, I know it’s a struggle but you can’t succeed without struggle. 

I usually just play football and get all my feelings out on the field, because it really helps.

Same thing. I did football, but now I’m doin’ baseball. I just do sports year-round just to help with [my mental health and avoiding burnout]. 

I use a to-do list…I try to organize myself as much as possible. So I… go to college on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, it’s like I don’t work at all on those days so I’m able to relax and stuff. I try to set a… time limit, like from 9 to 11, I’m doing homework, nothing else. I try to — well, I don’t — I try to put my phone away so it won’t distract me. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I just work…from 8 to 5, then I go home; I don’t do school work. It’s just like, I guess it’s a mind thing. I tell myself, “no, you’re not going to do this today, you’re gonna do this tomorrow.” 

Yeah, to be honest, I don’t really force myself to do anything. Like if I’m tired I just go to sleep. 

Yeah. *laughter*

Well, that’s also good, too. If you’re tired and you’re staying up late because of school, I don’t think that’s good. 

Don’t put too much on your plate. Like, don’t do a lot of things at one time because everything will happen in its own time. So just don’t rush things you know, ‘cuz that’s something that was a big mistake I made sophomore year. I just had like a whole bunch of sports that I was doing and then dance and school work. So just take your time, enjoy high school, cuz’ it’ll go by — it goes by so fast. …

Hosts: Alright, thank you for being with us today! We really hope that you take something away from the various people that gave their insight, and just that, that you just learned something from them. 

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This is the Free Your Feels Podcast, and we encourage you to continue freeing your feels

Yeah, and we encourage you to continue coping and trying to deal with your student burnout rather than ignore it. Like you heard from various students today, [there are] multiple ways to deal with your student burnout. I mean, going to people to vent to, doing sports…

…Listening to music…

…Yeah, do what you love in order to free yo feels! 

And just continue being you — that’s the best thing you can do. Don’t let stress or student burnout change who you are. Just find a way to deal with it. Thank you. 

Yeah, this is Lia Span and…

…Tess Wacker…

…from Free Your Feels — and have a great day! 


Breathing techniques offered by VOX teens: 

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