Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Student Burnout...

I think I’m running out of steam. I have to write yet another story for my journalism class, and nothing is appealing to me. This scares me. Writing is usually a no brainer for me, however, this time it’s a daunting task (sorry Prof. Callahan!).

I scan the online newspaper sites to find some sort of current event to rant and rave about, however, I’m distracted by the article on Tom Brady’s current hairstyle and ones throughout the decade (I still say Giselle has her spiny little hands in on why his hair is so long) but I’m not bitter. I vote on which movie is the best romantic film of all time (of course Bridges of Madison County wins over Ghost). I scan Facebook (just because I’m addicted).

I can’t focus. I think about the next day I’ll have off from work, how many weeks left until finals, and the thought of not having to get up at 6:15am on a Saturday to trudge into Algebra class.

I’ve had enough. It’s time for the semester to end. I think what I have is diagnosed as Student Burnout so I decide to investigate.

I find a website called Helpguide.org. They define burnout as “a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.”

Yep. That sounds like me.

It goes on to say, “You may be on the road to burnout if everyday is a bad day, Caring about work or home life seems like a total waste of energy, You’re exhausted all the time, the majority of your day is spent on tasks you fine either mind-numbing dull or overwhelming, or you feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.

Now I don’t know about you, but that just defined what most working mothers (single or married) think like on a daily basis, or at least this mother does.

Take that as a hint to call your mother kids.

So, how do we avoid burnout? The Texas A & M University website has a special section in their student resources that outlines ideas to keep burnout at bay. They suggest:
> Recognize the problem. Watch for signs of stress
> Build positive social supports and control negativity in your environment.
> Gain control where you can.
> Quit doing something. In other words, say NO and mean it.
> Use stress-management techniques. Meditate.
> Rest.

Like me, you’re probably saying, “I’m already burnt out! What do I do now?”

Well, About.com has a Top 10 Stress Relief Strategies From Your Inner Child.
1. Daydreaming – taking a mental break to visualize something pleasurable helps deplete stress levels throughout the day.
2. Naps – power naps consisting of 15-20 minutes rejuvenates the mind and body.
3. Hugs – never underestimate the power of a good hug from a loved one.
4. Playing with Pets – studies proven they lower blood pressure better than medication.
5. Singing – loud and proud! Nobody says it has to be on key.
6. Playing Games – playing a quick online game of Boggle or other fun games relieves stress.
7. Drawing, Painting, Sculpting – Grab a coloring book and crayons and feel the stress dissolve!
8. Writing notes – Doodling or journaling helps with keeping focused to tasks.
9. Team Sports – group involvement and exercise can bring down stress levels.
10. Imagining the Future – reminding ourselves of our goals may bring motivation back.

And if that is still not enough, well, there is always chocolate.

Yes, I said chocolate.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate has many health benefits. Included in that list is that it lowers stress levels. According to Life Mojo.com, “Eating a delicious piece of chocolate could possibly reduce stress levels; it works by stimulating the production of endorphin that may give rise to a happy feeling. In addition, the dark chocolate variety contains stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine that are major stimulants.”

So if you can see yourself as I see myself here, try and take a break, take a breath, or maybe just enjoy some sweet, dark chocolate and feel your troubles melt away.

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