Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out builtbygirls.com.
Trying to maintain your professional or academic momentum as we’re isolated at home and constantly facing a ceaseless news cycle is draining. In other words, the burnout is very, very real.
If you haven’t heard the term "burnout" before, you’ve probably felt the loss of interest, the creative block, and professional exhaustion that it brings on. Whether you secured a virtual internship while taking on a full-time class schedule, applying to colleges in this uncertain climate, or just stepped into your first job, your life is busy and you're susceptible to burning out.
Here are five ways to manage your burnout and stay motivated:
Know what burnout feels like for you
Typically, the signs of burnout are physical and emotional fatigue, detachment, insomnia, lack of focus, and even depression or anger. But the signs are different for everyone. For example, I know when I’m reaching a point of burnout when my work-related anxiety kicks it into high gear.
Pro tip: If you’re feeling super stressed, track your symptoms. You may notice a pattern and be able to flag your burnout sooner in the future.
No matter how much there is to get done, periodically step away from your work. It’s important to let your mind rest, especially now when your workplace is the same as your relaxing place. Plus it will make you more productive and efficient when it's time to focus.
It’s a good idea to schedule these breaks like meetings. Block off time in your calendar or set an alarm on your phone to take a half-hour break.
Add movement to your routine
It doesn’t matter what this looks like for you, all that matters is getting some good endorphins at some point during your day. If traditional forms of exercise aren't your thing, find a way to break a sweat that works for you. Have a dance party, do some stretching, go for a brisk walk, or whatever gets you out from behind your screen and moving. You may think taking the time away from work to exercise will slow you down, but studies show it will relieve stress and increase your productivity.
Make time for what you love
Take self-care seriously by making time to do the things that make you happy. Do you love to read? Paint? Work on your side passion-project? Make time in your schedule for those activities and guard that time like a doctor’s appointment.
Learn to say no more
You are brilliant and talented and hard-working, so naturally you’re going to be asked to help out on projects, take on extra work, and lead school clubs. But it’s crucial to prioritize. Take on only what you can. It’s easy to say yes to everything, especially as a student, but protect your time, and don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities that will overextend you.
Burnout is detrimental to your work, emotional state, and personal life. It's easy to get lost in the hustle of everyday life and let burnout sneak up on you. So check in with yourself and make sure to make time and space to breathe and recoup. Your mind, mood, and work will be better for it.
Read more information and tips in our Career section