Put your own needs first, take a break for you



Al Maier gives their advice on burnout this semester.

AL MAIER, Opinion Columnist

There is nothing easy about attending college in the middle of a raging global pandemic. No one could have prepared for this, and no one would have seen this coming. Here we are in this strange new normal that COVID-19 has brought upon us and as we work around and with the new rules and regulations with masks and social distancing, it is hard to maintain social, personal and academic relationships as the days pass by.

A lot of them have started to feel the same, moment to moment and hour to hour. Restrictions on safely gathering with friends or families has also taken a toll on people. We need each other more than anything now, and sprinkling in college and all of its challenges does not help on a daily basis.

This semester especially is hitting students harder than ever before due to the lack of a spring break. However, we are not the only ones feeling it. Our professors are also experiencing burn out. We are all fatigued and telling ourselves that we just have to make it through one week at a time and repeat that process again until the semester is over. I also think that we all see that as well. It is times like these that we need to be able to lean on others and reach out when we feel overwhelmed.

It also feels overwhelming to hear people dismiss burnout or the possibility of taking a break. People might be offering ways to cope with burnout and disregarding that we all need to heal in different ways. Most importantly, though, I think we can all agree is to just breathe. One breath in and one breath out at a time. We need each other and there may not always be the chance to meet up and give the physical support. It is even tiring sometimes to complete one small assignment or send a small text message. What we really need is a moment of grace for everyone. We have come so far and done enough for now; it really is time to take a step back.

As we enter this final month of our 2020-2021 semester, it is best to keep in mind our mental health and remember to set boundaries as we work through the school days. Taking time to yourself and learning that you deserve breaks and time off is incredibly important. Ask for that extension on a project; take the sick day from work; learn to breathe from time to time as we reach this last leg of pushing ourselves.

Finishing strong is within our reach, but we need to allow some room for ourselves as the days press on. While not every kind of self-care works for everyone, just learning to listen to your mind and your needs is more important than ever now. Take a breath; we are almost at the finish line. You can do this.