Student Blog: Burnout & Moving Past the Urge To Quit

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed like Bibble in this picture? I can help.

By: Dec. 18, 2023
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Student Blog: Burnout & Moving Past the Urge To Quit Hello readers! Welcome back to another blog post. Today we will discuss burnout and how to endure a difficult semester even when all you want to do is give up. For those of you who don’t know what burnout means, burnout is the feeling of becoming lazy or stressed because you have too much on your plate or you've been doing the same activity for a long time and do not see the desired results. I’ve had a pretty wonderful first semester, but that does not mean there haven’t been times when I just wanted to quit. Whether you’re burnt out because you’re feeling homesick, too overwhelmed with schoolwork, or (as a theatre major) busy with rehearsals, auditions, or performances, this fatigue can happen to anyone at any time for a multitude of reasons.

Alone Time: Good or Bad?

Personally, I think I felt the most burnt out this semester in the lead-up to the holidays, like Thanksgiving and winter break, because work was piling up to mark the end of the semester and all I wanted to do was go home, sleep in my room, and spend time with my family. Also, at my school, auditions for shows scheduled for the spring semester occur in the long long days right around when fall classes end and finals begin. The end of the fall semester is an exciting time but no matter how you slice it, everyone is at least a little stressed when they’re faced with so much on their schedule (especially theatre students in situations like this one). Although this period goes by quite fast, and the chaos one experiences during it is almost always temporary, I couldn’t help but feel it would never end sometimes. From my experience, I’ve found that the first step to dealing with this burnout is knowing you’re not going through it alone. It’s easier to say that “no one is alone” than truly feeling and understanding it but if you take a look around, 9 times out of 10, at least one of your friends or classmates will feel the same way. Sometimes just observing how people around you are coping with their stress and having conversations with the people you are close to about their experiences with burnout will make you feel less alone. When you’re feeling overworked, it’s simple to isolate yourself from others while getting down on yourself about your own life. Alone time can be a great solution for burnout but if you look inward for too long, you might become more critical of yourself and less motivated than necessary. 

Short-Term Cures For Burnout

Something I’ve noticed a couple of my friends like to do when they’re feeling burnt out is get off campus. I realize that on some college campuses, it may be harder to do this than on others but if you have the opportunity to get away from your regular hang-out spaces to clear your mind... you should take it. My friends like to go to the local malls or we’ll occasionally catch a movie together on the weekends just to escape from our daily schedules for a second. Doing little things like changing your scenery or taking a walk around campus to get outside of your room can help you reset your mind when you’re overworked. Even just taking my lunch or dinner to eat on a bench outside or being in nature for a little while will encourage me to move forward. If I have a lot of schoolwork on my plate, sometimes the only place I can get it done is in the library. It’s a quiet space where I can power my phone down and everyone around me is seemingly productive so being there makes me more likely to focus on what I need to get done as opposed to when I’m in my room, a student lounge, or somewhere along those lines. The littlest things like a change of space or even a long hot shower can assist me in turning short-term burnout around. 

10-Minute Rule

One last tip I have for when you want to give up is the 10-minute rule. I did not come up with this rule but I’m pretty sure I got it (or at least a similar idea) from an interview I saw with a Broadway actor (of course I can’t remember who it was now) but the rule means that you will allow only ten minutes to wallow in self-pity when something “bad” happens to you before moving on and not thinking about it again. This is easier said than done but when you’re feeling like you don’t want to keep going with something while simultaneously knowing that the feeling is bad for you (you want to get out of your rut and you just don’t know how), sometimes the 10-minute rule applies itself well. For me, I like to use the 10-minute rule when I don’t get cast in a show I wanted to be in, for example, or don't get the role I wanted initially in the audition process. Dealing with rejection is difficult and can send you into a spiral of wanting to give up on things you normally care about. At times, allowing yourself time to feel the lowest of lows or let all your anger out about the thing that is holding you back from progressing is one of the best outlets I know for moving past the urge to quit that comes from experiences like rejection. With the 10-minute cap off, though, it’s a form of self-discipline that frees you from staying wrapped up in your problems for too long. Therefore, if you’re ever experiencing burnout but feel on the edge of getting out of it, literally set a timer for yourself for 10 minutes to vent about or reflect on all the reasons why you don’t want to keep going then just stop at the 10-minute mark. If you get good at this practice, I can’t promise that all your feelings of laziness or fatigue will go away but you’ll definitely think about them less often. 

That’s all I’ve got for you this time readers! Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more! 

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