Opinion

A few quick tips for dealing with burnout

At a certain point in the semester, the engine runs out of steam, the new grows old, and syllabus shock melts into syllabus apathy. Your brain has been fried flatter than Kansas, which has been scientifically proven to be flatter than a pancake. You’re burnt-out.

But fear not. The old vim you had when the semester was young may not have left you forever; you just have to rediscover it. Hopefully, these few little tips will help you relight the intellectual candle.

• Take a day off: Planning to have a homework-free day or weekend gives you a goal to work toward and reward for meeting that goal. Spend the day watching Hulu, hanging out with friends, staring into space, or sleeping. Perhaps after some time away, you will feel more ready to tackle assignments.

• Listen to Winnie-the-Pooh: He may be a bear of very little brain, but he has said some pretty wise things. He said, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” A little time down by the lake and a few rounds of Pooh sticks can refresh a brain stuffed too full of fluff. Take a little time to be someplace calm; explore the woods, sit by the lake, enjoy the beauty, and allow Pooh’s perspective to sink it: “We shall get there some day.”

• Read a good book: Maybe you don’t have the time for your favorite novel, but some really great books are only ten pages long. Pull out your favorite children’s book or short story and enjoy. It can be a quick way to relax and remember that there is a world beyond the daily grind. There are adventures to be had.

• Spend time with friends: Plan something fun with other people so that you have a reason to finish that paper. You could watch a movie, take a walk, have coffee, or, if you’re really ambitious, you could plan a little trip. Spend the day at the Fort Wayne Zoo or at the Chicago Museum of Art.

• Sleep: Try going to bed at decent and consistent times. Work uninterrupted by yawns is much easier, so snuggle up with your teddy bear and slip off to Dreamland.

• Most importantly, become reacquainted with Jesus: When Jesus came over to her house, Martha worried and stressed and worked like crazy while Mary just sat there listening to Jesus. When Martha complained about her sister, Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha,…you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV). Take some time to be alone with Jesus. Read your Bible, pray, journal, or just be. Spending time with Jesus does not make the mountains of homework disappear, but it does renew your perspective about what truly matters.

Victims of burnout, rejoice. All is not lost. Allow your brain to rest and your soul to recover. May we all give our worries to Jesus and allow him to work out the rest.

Story by Rachel Scoles | Staff Writer | scolesra@grace.edu

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