Balancing virtual learning, studying for national boards, working part-time, and dealing with all the stress that comes with trying to survive during a global pandemic is enough to lead anyone to burnout. Here are some ways to take care of yourself.
1. TAKE BREAKS
Be sure to work in breaks on days you are working at your part- or full-time job. The same goes for those busy school days when classes are back to back and you’re starring at a screen all day. Right now, staying on top of the workload seems more important than ever as furloughs and layoffs are occurring, but you still need to take care of yourself and your mental health. At times when work is extremely stressful, it is important to take a step back and do something that helps lower your blood pressure. Go for a walk, take some deep breaths, take a break and focus on you and not all the things on your to-do list.
2. SAY NO TO SCREENS
Turn off your phone, stop reading the news, or click over from a news channel to a show that does not make you anxious. Those articles on “How to Be Productive During a Pandemic,” or “Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Finish that Passion Project,” can wait until tomorrow— or until never. Social media and the news can be overwhelming and cause stress levels to rise, which is the opposite of what everyone needs during these trying times. You can also set timers to warn you when your 15, ,0 or 30 minutes of daily screen time is up.
3. GET OUTDOORS
Since heading to the gym is off-limits for many, now is the time to get outside and enjoy local walking trails, hikes, or even just your neighborhood. Daily exercise should be a part of your self-care routine as getting out in nature has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Take time during the workday to get outside your office and walk around the building, or to a nearby park. If you are on Zoom all day for distance learning classes, work time into your schedule to get away from the computer and outside your house.
4. USE VACATION DAYS
If you have vacation days—use them. It may seem silly to take off time only to stay home due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, but it’s important to take time for yourself. Plan a staycation, rent a campsite, if you want to go to a hotel, then do it! Just practice social distancing and wear a mask when out in public. Some days away from the office can help alleviate feelings of stress, fatigue, or anxiety caused by work. Students can also get away with a mental health day here and there as long as it does not interfere with your school schedule. Just plan accordingly.
5. CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Feeling fatigued, disconnected, overwhelmed, exhausted, and depressed are some signs of burnout. If you are headed there, implementing a routine, practicing self-care or mindfulness, and prioritizing your basic needs at school, work, and at home are essential. Seeking support from friends, coworkers, peers, or a mental health professional is also important during this time to help prevent burnout.