Four tips for students to prevent and overcome burnout

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As the end of the semester draws near with its final exams, papers and projects, students are at higher risk of burnout than at any other time of the year. This feeling of energy depletion or exhaustion can not only affect academic performance, but also negatively impacts mental health.

Students have access to a number of resources on campus that can help prevent burnout, acknowledge the feelings it may bring, and relieve stress altogether. By being proactive, students can confidently approach finals with the energy and stamina to succeed. 

Take control by acknowledging your experiences

“I see burn out as your fight or flight [response],” says Vanessa Mena-Gibson, staff therapist and case manager at the Counseling Center. According to Mena-Gibson, each person reacts to stress differently. Some experience physical symptoms like stomach aches or headaches, while others have emotional responses like avoidance or isolation.

“It’s good to write a list of reactions to stress as you experience them,” says Mena-Gibson. “By acknowledging these experiences, you can feel in control of the situation. Once students are self aware, it’s easier to use healthier coping methods."

“Take some time to get away from your stressors,” says Mena-Gibson. “Even going for a walk or FaceTiming a friend can be a healthy way to relieve stress.”

Students looking to speak with a professional can connect with the Counseling Center or visit Meet the Staff to learn more about the counselors on campus. 

Find a healthy outlet for stress

Due to the endorphins released during exercise, it can be a great outlet for stress. “There are so many benefits to regular exercise,” says Katherine Page (known as Kat), fitness coordinator for Brandeis Athletics

The Gosman Athletics Center has something for everyone. Page recommends trying the different fitness classes available on campus, free to students. Students can attend yoga, cycle, high-intensity training, and other group classes. “Your time on campus is the best time to try something new,” says Page. “You may find something you love!” If students don’t have the time to visit Gosman, Page suggests going for a quick daily walk to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “The key is to find balance,” says Page. 

Students can visit Gosman to enjoy the facilities, register online for group classes, join a recreational club, and more. 

Talk to your community mentors 

“The entire community is here to support us,” says Nathalie Vieux-Gresham ’23, a neuroscience major who is actively involved on campus. While she participates in numerous organizations, Vieux-Greshman knows when to step away due to the guidance of her campus mentors. “Leah Berkenwald is my Bridge to Wellness advisor, but is also like a mentor to me,” says Vieux-Gresham. 

Vieux-Gresham is also a Bridge to Wellness peer educator, serving as a mentor to other students on campus. Bridge to Wellness, a Brandeis Health and Wellness Promotion initiative, aims to educate and empower students to prioritize well-being. Students can attend workshops around numerous topics like nutrition, social connectedness, and stress-management. 

Vieux-Gresham enjoys working alongside students to help them prioritize their well-being. “We need to remember that we are people, not just students,” says Vieux-Gresham. 

Know when to say no 

While Brandeis students are vigorously involved on campus, it’s important to know when to take time for yourself. “The tough one for students is being able to say `no’ to things,” says Leah Berkenwald, director of Health Promotion and Wellness Initiatives. “It’s not selfish to take time away.”  

Berkenwald also recommends students take advantage of the fun resources available both online and at in-person events. “In addition to the stressbuster events hosted on campus throughout the semester, we curated a collection of virtual stressbusters that are there if you need to relax, be more present, or just want to feel uplifted,” says Berkenwald. 

Visit the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion to learn more about their workshops and upcoming events.

Categories: General, Student Life

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