Grace Jordan, Campus Carrier arts & living editor
COVID-19 has disrupted the day-to-day lives of most Americans. One notable change due to the pandemic is colleges shortening their semesters and removing breaks. College students have been on campus for months at this point in the year and most have had little to no breaks. Many colleges across the country took away fall break, leaving students with no substantial time off. Berry removed fall break from the fall semester and has also made the decision to remove spring break from spring semester and start the semester after MLK day.
The goal of removing breaks from the school year was to prevent students from going home or travelling and possibly bringing COVID-19 to campus and infecting the population. However, students being isolated from their families has negative consequences on students’ mental health.
Nicole Hadler, a senior medical student at the University of Michigan, wrote in an article for Michigan Medicine that the feeling of loneliness among college students has increased.
“It is well studied that college students are especially prone to feelings of loneliness, and they experience higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to the general population,” Hadler said. “ During this period of social isolation, they are prone to further worsening of these feelings. Removal from their support system can cause students to feel less connected.”
Colleges have eleminated breaks, but the workload has not gotten any easier. On top of college students having to confront a national pandemic, they are forced to carry on with their lives as if things are normal. Samir Aziz, a physician from Polyclinic, a medical group, says the stress of a pandemic in combination with the daily routines of life has increased burnout.
“COVID-19 has turned our lives into a whirlwind of strong emotions,” Aziz said. “Emotional burnout and drainage happen when we exceed our capacity for this accumulated stress and still feel the need to keep on performing in our daily lives.”
Dealing with burnout is never easy and many students find themselves not knowing how to overcome it. Still, there are ways to cope. The rigor of college demands attention but take some time for yourself.
Here are some tips on how to limit burnout next semester as a semester of few breaks continues:
- Set time aside every day, no matter how long, to rest your brain. Take a nap, go for a walk or watch an episode of your favorite TV show.
- Prioritize. If you have assignments to do, job obligations and social commitments, decide which of them is more important and start with that. Burnout is increased when students are doing too much and overcommit themselves. Learn to take life day by day and don’t overload your plate.
- Do something you love. It is easy to put your hobbies on the back burner because of the demands of school but take a few hours on the weekend to enjoy interests outside of academia.
- Sleep. Students sacrifice sleep to keep up with assignments and exams, but lack of sleep only contributes to burnout. Get at least 7 hours of sleep at night and if possible, take a nap during the day if feeling tired.
- Realize that academic achievement does not equal self-worth. Students can find their worth in how well they do in classes, but that only increases burnout. If you miss an assignment or get a bad grade on an exam it does not mean you’re no longer valuable as a person.
- Talk with your friends. If you are experiencing burnout, it’s likely that others are, too. Friends can hold you accountable and help you stay focused
- Get moving! Getting regular excersize helps to elevate your heart rate, keep you in shape and boost your mood! Working out can help you improve your sleep, energy levels and general attitude, which can help you improve your productivity and prevent burnout.
- Create a schedule. Burnout is expedited when you procrastinate and push your assignments off. Stick to a routine to better manage your time.
- Turn your phone off. It is easy to get distracted with social media and friends, especially when you are experiencing burnout. To avoid unneeded distractions turn your phone off or limit your time on your apps.
- Talk with a counselor or peer educators. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, they are here to help you navigate college. It can be hard to figure out how to put advice into practice. Counselors and peer educators can help you destress, create healthy coping mechanisms and manage your time.