Virtual Mentor Tips: Avoiding and Managing Burnout

Most of us believe that burnout is something that happens to someone else. We tell ourselves that it’s something that only happens to those who work day and night without a break. However, burnout is common for many students, and can sneak up on you unnoticed. If you are juggling work, parenting, other responsibilities, or even just focusing solely on your studies, it’s easy for life to become overwhelming at times.

The symptoms of burnout can start out small and grow over time until they reach a breaking point. Have you noticed any of the warning signs listed below in your life recently?

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Indifference
  • Irritability
  • Constant anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Loss of appetite

Preventing burnout is easier than dealing with the consequences. It is important to remember that our emotional and physical resources are not endless. I hope that the following tips will help everyone who has embarked on their path of education while trying to handle other life tasks avoid and manage burnout.

Acknowledge stress in your own life

We are not able to control everything in our lives, so unplanned things will inevitably happen. Sometimes, we must stop and remember – we are human. Relax and allow yourself to be less than perfect.

Practice digital detox and breathe

We often believe that we cannot afford to just sit down and do nothing. But, sometimes, that’s what we need most. Turn off all communications, computer, music, movies for a few minutes every day. Engage in conscious breathing. Five minutes of observing how you breathe can help you to relax, both physically and mentally. These five minutes are yours alone.

Don’t try to do everything at once

Multitasking is an essential skill to help you survive in today’s world, but it does not always lead to better performance. Try to set aside some time and complete one task productively during this period. Don’t let anything distract you. As much as possible, try to complete tasks fully, one at a time, and avoid procrastination. Having several partially completed tasks on your plate can lead to unnecessary stress in your life.

Find a hobby

Although it might seem like another task on your to-do list, having a favorite activity that you can enjoy can be very beneficial to your mental state. The right hobby can increase your energy level, improve your mood, and connect you with other people who enjoy the same activity. There are so many activities to choose from—from crocheting to rock climbing.

Get enough sleep

Healthy sleep is vital to recovering from the mental and physical stress we experience every day. Try to gradually reduce your activity by the evening. You can brew a soothing tea or listen to relaxing music. Sleep is my favorite magic pill, and it really helps.

These are simple tips, and most of us can find at least one that we can implement in our lives. It is important to understand that burnout will not go away on its own. To manage burnout, you need to make conscious steps towards a healthy, balanced life. Even if these steps are tiny, you can do them every day to help manage your stress levels and stay energized.

-Anna Chesnokova, WSU Global Campus Virtual Mentor