Burn out



We’ve all been there…

At this point in the year, students might notice themselves or their peers them experiencing a bit of that familiar burnt-out feeling that comes around every so often. Burnout happens when someone neglects their personal needs in favor of working on other commitments such as school, work or family obligations.
With finals and the busy holiday season on the horizon, taking care of oneself is important to fight off getting burnt out. According to the American Bar Association, having a strong social support network is important to maintaining good mental health. A strong support system is shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
NVU-Johnson offers many groups to help students prioritize their mental health. For instance, on Tuesdays at 2-3p.m., students are invited to visit the wellness center and hang out with Sir Frederic, a sickly but sweet orange kitten who helps chase the stress away with his cute little paws.
According to the National Institutes of Health, multiple studies have shown that interacting with animals lowers levels of cortisol — the primary stress hormone — in the brain, as well as lowering one’s blood pressure.
For students that prefer non-feline friends, the Wellness Center has plenty of other peer groups. Another potentially helpful group being held on Thursdays at 4:15-5:50 is Tree Talk. Tree talk is exactly what it sounds like it would be; it’s a group that goes out on a walk in the woods to talk and journal with and amongst the trees.
According to UC Berkeley, taking walks in the woods is also shown to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, along with lowering the heart rate and sympathetic nervous system activity, which is related to stress.
For those not into attending mental health related groups, they can always contact the NVU-Johnson wellness center to talk to a counselor at [email protected] or by calling (802) 635-1265.
There are also plenty of self-care rituals that students can perform for themselves that might help them de-stress throughout this stressful time of year.
It’s a classic, but finding time to move your body in a way that makes you feel good is always a good idea when feeling stressed. Whether that’s going to the gym and getting a good lift session in, or just doing some simple stretches at home, moving your body releases endorphins that are well known to boost mood and energy levels.
Introverted people might not get a ton of use out of this one, but finding time to hang out with friends can also be super helpful in not feeling too overwhelmed with everything going on.
When you’re not working or having fun with your friends, it’s also a good idea to eat food that will make your body feel better. According to the American Psychological Association, around 95% of the serotonin in your body is produced in your GI tract, so keeping your gut microbiome healthy might help fight off the creeping dread as well.
UC San Diego Health says that some foods that help boost serotonin in your gut are foods high in protein and tryptophan. These might include poultry, fish, and eggs. Also according to UCSD, adding carbohydrates helps the tryptophan synthesize into serotonin, so adding some fruit and breads would be advised as well.
Now that you’re armed with some methods of prioritizing your mental health, make sure to take this as the most important piece of advice: don’t get too down on yourself if you do end up feeling burnt out. According to the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, it’s important to allow yourself to feel your emotions to be able to move past them and feel better eventually.
“When we ignore our feelings, it creates a ‘boomerang’ effect where the emotions will just come back later, and sometimes even stronger than they were before. Allowing ourselves to feel what we’re feeling helps us move forward instead of getting stuck,” said Emily Bucher LISW from the Wexner Medical Center at OSU.