College Life: Are We Pulling Ourselves “Too Thin”?

Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

Knowing When You've Stretched Yourself Too Thin | by Vinny Galiano | Medium
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College students face many demands, ranging from trying to manage a social life while going to classes, possibly working a job, and/or handling extracurricular activities such as sports, honor societies, greek life, and clubs/organizations. As a result of this, many students experience a mental condition called mental burnout.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), mental burnout occurs when “a stressful lifestyle puts people under extreme pressure to the point where they feel exhausted, empty, burned out, or unable to cope.”

However, stress does not always have to be the cause. 

Even the feeling of being overworked can cause mental burnout, according to NIH. This means being overworked by having a constantly busy schedule, always having to do something, and/or constantly working to the point where we neglect self-care.

According to Psychology Today, some common signs of burnout include:

  • Physical exhaustion 
  • Mental exhaustion
  • A sense of dread about work
  • Frequent feelings of cynicism 
  • Frequent feelings of anger
  • Frequent feelings of irritability 

So, what can you do to prevent mental burnout or help with mental burnout?

  1. Always set some time in the day to do something you enjoy. 
  • This can mean going on a half hour walk, going to the gym, listening to music, reading a chapter of a book etc. 
  1. Learn how to say ‘no’.
  • This can be challenging, but it is rewarding when you do. Learning to say no will help us set boundaries for ourselves and will ensure we do not overextend ourselves. Sometimes, we want to do everything or do not want to make people feel disappointed, but learning to say no allows you not to pull yourself too thin.
  1. Learn to set boundaries. 
  • This can be hard but learning to set boundaries is great. This means after a certain time, set your phone down, keep a consistent bed schedule, or learn how to walk away when you begin to feel overwhelmed. 
  1. Self-care does not mean ‘me first’ but it means ‘me too’. 
  • Taking care of yourself is important and it is critical to make sure we stay healthy and well. Self-care can come in many forms, but it means that we need to make sure we take care of ourselves too when we are taking care of others. This means that we should always set time for ourselves during the day. This could mean watching an episode of your favorite television show, exercising, ensuring we get enough sleep and eat, or simply spending time with friends. 

If you believe you are mentally burned out, here are some suggestions you can do in order to point you in the right direction again, according to Psychology Today:

  1. Protect your sleep. 
  1. Practice yoga, tai chi, walks in nature, or other self-care practices to help ease the mind.
  1. Learn to walk away. 
  • Walk away whether it is a short break or vacation. Taking a break from a residential home is a great way to refresh and restart. 

If you need to seek professional help, the University of Lynchburg ‘s Counseling Center offers free counseling services on the first floor of Hundley Hall or call 1-800-273-8255 

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