Burnout

I bet the three-year-old mint in the left pocket of my backpack that when you read the title, you thought of at least one of the following:

1. Ugh, another article on Burnout… we get one every year.
2. How can a high schooler be “burnt out”? That’s just for people who actually work.
3. Burnout isn’t real; suck it up.

Why do I know this? Because that’s what I thought when I wrote the title. Duh.

I do not want to go off on a tangent on how my life has been sucking quite a bit for the past month. That’s embarrassing. Who would use their high school newspaper as a way to trauma dump? Not me. At all. But I do want to share these new symptoms of mine:

I wake up to my alarm at 5:30 A.M. I turn it off and go back to sleep. But when I lie down on my bed, my back hurts. Why? Because I’m lying on a conglomeration of clothes, jeans, and jackets that I have not put back into the closet in weeks. Two hours later, I wake up to the sweet sound of my heart beating like I ran a half-a-marathon. I overslept, and I need to go to school. I’m running late. Should I shower? NO TIME. Let me change my underwear and brush my hair. Dignity? What is that? I check my phone— 10 missing assignments. Do I even want to go to school? No.

These are my symptoms:
Insomnia
Headaches
Irritability
Lack of motivation
Inability to focus
Physical exhaustion
Cynicism. Guys. CYNICISM.

Diagnosis: Burnout.

Now, am I a farmer trying to provide for my family of 12 during the Great Depression? No. Am I a surgeon after a 12-hour open-heart surgery? No. Am I a teacher with over 200 lazy-butt students? Heck no. But am I a competitive student with delusions of grandeur and an inflated sense of ego and dreams that can be achieved by aspiring levels of unattainable perfection? Yes. Sadly.

Who can experience Burnout?

Get this: “Burnout is not caused solely by stressful work environments or too many responsibilities. It can be experienced by anyone with prolonged levels of chronic stress and pressure causing overwhelm as work or home demands.”

Ha! Did’ya hear that, mom? Are you tired of being told you cannot be burned out? Well, this is your lucky day. You sure can be. Congratulations on your new condition.

I’ll leave you with this. Self-diagnose, go ahead.

How to deal with it?

Now, what can you do? I have a few recommendations for the high-school academic type of Burnout.

1. Stop denying it! Do you feel weak when you say it out loud? Do you feel like you’re complaining about your first-world problems? You are. But it’s okay. Stop feeling shame about your own natural responses to stressors. Don’t suck it up. Let it out and face it. Start adulting.

2. Make sure you have a support group or person. You have to share this with others, or else. “Or else what?” You may ask. Or else you’re going to suffer and actually get sick.

3. I’m not going to hit you with the “love yourself, boo.” I promise. I would not like myself after that. But do make an effort to prioritize your routines. Prioritize your basic needs like food, water, and movement. Then, get to the next set of priorities. Climb the mountain, don’t just blow it up with dynamite. (Horrible analogy, but you get the point).

4. Nice job. Have a cookie.

Good luck. Just remember to shower.

Sincerely,
The person who sits next to you

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