At this point both in the year and in the semester, everyone is facing some level of burnout. The constant barrage of negativity coming from our phones and the TV can become so overwhelming that we just want to shut off all technology and access to the news and escape. The same can be said for life in college with all of our academics, extra-curriculars, social life, and the innumerable expectations that we are meant to achieve after college, like getting a job. However, we cannot let ourselves lose hope or give up on either the outside world or the little world here on campus.
If you were to go to any TV and switch to CNN, it would certainly seem like the entire country was falling apart. All throughout the day, we get constant notifications that can only bring us pain. Go to any news website, and every story you see is something terrible happening. While almost all these things are important news that deserve attention, taking them too much to heart can lead to burnout. Eventually people just get sick of all the negativity and say- “It doesn’t matter to me” or “This will never affect me”.
When too many people at once are facing burnout at one time, which seems to have been the case in at least the last 3-4 years, it leads to a weaker community and a weaker democracy. The constant onslaught of negative news do no help to the public. Without thoughtful presentations of solutions, reporting, or actions, people feel like nothing will ever improve. This is why news media needs to improve both their reporting and what they choose to report. When people feel like there is no hope, they start to turn off their television sets and the notifications on their phone.
The more and more people that do this, take up the attitude that nothing can change the slow erosion of the public’s power in our democracy. The very reason that people do not get involved in their communities and the community of America is because they have been led to believe that no matter what they do, nothing will ever be improved. People take up this same position when it comes to voting as well.
Therefore, when the news media does not improve, we need to take matters into our own hands. Avoid news media burnout by taking breaks from it when you can and keeping a positive attitude.
Add news sources into your feeds that bring you not only bad news, but good news too. And always keep in mind that no matter what, there is always hope and you can always make a difference, no matter how small.
Upset about the California Wildfires? Donate to an organization helping victims. Don’t like how politicians are acting? Call up your representatives. There are countless other examples.
The same attitude can be applied to academic and everyday life burnout. With Christmas in Christ Chapel just around the corner and the end of the semester looming near, many students are, (as one professor put it) “about to pass out in the hallway from exhaustion”. And people aren’t just burning out from stress either. Many seniors are about to face their last semester of college, and the only thing on their minds is the prospect of getting their first “real” job within their field.
A similar mantra is created in our heads when these situations of stress come up. “Nothing I do matters” or “I’ll never make it through this”. This defeated kind of attitude will get us nowhere. The same course of action must be taken to avoid total shutdown in our own personal lives. Simply having the knowledge that this stressful time will pass, just as all others have, is a comfort to many. Taking a break from the stress surrounding you is also a good strategy. If you continuously have negative thoughts, then you are never going to achieve what you would like to, or be able to enjoy the moment that you are in. If you are feeling burnt out, do the thing that helps you to relax, and then make what I like to call a “Plan of Attack”- whatever way to plan to tackle the thing that is causing you stress or exhaustion, such as searching for a job after college.
While it may just seem that I am spouting the same traditional “positivity” rant, it is easier to fall into an apathetic attitude than the majority of people realize. So take a step back and make sure to avoid burnout in order to give your very best to both your community and yourself.