May 06, 2021
“I had so much to do, but as the day progressed, I became so tired even if I honestly ended up not doing much.”
This was just one expression of the many conversations I’ve had in recent months whenever I ask about how people have been holding up the past weeks.
“You know, I wake up, look at my backlogs, and try sleeping again, wishing that when I wake up, this pandemic is over, including all these requirements.”
I thought it was simply just a loss of motivation for this friend of mine, considering that before the pandemic, this person was one of the most diligent people I know.
“I used to love learning. Now, I don’t know. I think I almost hate it now. I just want to submit what’s asked. This isn’t me, but it’s also all I could manage right now.”
It wasn’t just a feeling. It was a state of being.
The statements above may not be the exact words, but maybe they’ve captured what you’ve been feeling throughout the school year.
As uncertain as we all were coming into this school year, we realized quickly that the landscape has changed—the way classes are conducted (if you even meet at all), the way requirements are handed out, the way deadlines are enforced, and the many adjustments that had to be thrown in to try to navigate uncharted territory.
Perhaps, given this current situation, burnout is more inevitable than impossible—a matter of “when” than “if.”
Burnout in the past was mainly due to overcommitting and overworking. It’s either we underestimate the amount of time, energy, and effort that our commitments would require of us, or we overestimate our capacity to handle multiple tasks. Sometimes, we also just simply forget that we also need to rest, and that we also have physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual limitations.
While these two things still cause burnout today, this pandemic and the complications and challenges it creates add more weight on everyone’s shoulders.
What are the telltale signs of burnout? Here are some signs that you might probably relate with:
1. You procrastinate and do other things to avoid your tasks.
One way you could be experiencing burnout is when you constantly put off your tasks by doing other things such as playing mobile games, browsing your feed, or chatting with friends.
Procrastination can be more than just a bad habit. It could be a sign of burnout or a loss of motivation to do the things that you really must do, i.e. study, answer your modules, or watch your prof’s lecture videos.
2. Getting out of bed feels like a battle in itself.
Your alarm sets off, but your hand hits the snooze button almost instinctively without even opening your eyes. “Just another five minutes,” but you doze off for another 30 minutes.
The idea of facing yet another day and doing the same things you hate torment you. Your body feels a bit heavier, like the bed is strongly pulling you in.
3. What you used to love, you now almost hate.
When you’re burnt out, even the things you enjoy the most don’t feel as enjoyable or fulfilling as they once were. Most of the time, you just want to lay in bed and do nothing. Is it a loss of passion or a lack of motivation? You really don’t know. You just feel tired most of the time.
4. You settle for “Pwede na yan!”
Standards are often the first casualty of burnout. When you’re too burnt out to do anything at all, you settle for mediocrity and just produce what’s asked of you in order to get it over and done with.
How many times have you found yourself saying, “Okay na ‘yan. Pwede na yan?”
5. A mini-existential crisis ensues.
As you spiral deeper into a sense of nothingness, you begin to question your worth or worry about your future. This can even trigger some forms of anxiety in you.
If you’re able to relate with any of these signs, here are some practical things that could help:
1. Revisit your rhythm.
List down your tasks, responsibilities, and schedules. Find a sustainable rhythm that could help you do your tasks while also finding opportunities for rest and recreation.
Also, you might want to assess energy-draining and time-wasting habits that add to your exhaustion. Replace these things with healthier habits such as relaxing, walking around, listening to music, having your solitude, or praying.
Waking up may seem like a losing battle, but you can still fight back. A simple act of rising up from bed (and taking a bath) helps you gain focus and momentum to start your day.
As you rise up, do some positive self-talk to motivate yourself. Declare strength and speak life. Better yet, speak words from Scriptures to remind you that God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.
Being burnt out is primarily caused by a lack of rest. Resting allows us to regain strength and to recover our passion for the things that we do.
When you rest, don’t just indulge in activities to distract yourself from your responsibilities. Engage in activities that will rejuvenate your physical strength, reenergize your mind, and restore your emotional health.
Regaining momentum is best done when you have people to encourage you and keep you accountable. When you’re feeling burnt out, talk to a reliable friend and open up what you’re feeling. Then allow this person to speak to your situation and to help you out of the rut.
After taking your time to rest, reassess, and reconnect with people, it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. Restart! Pick yourself up again, face your responsibilities, and remind yourself of the great reward that awaits you when you run the race with perseverance.
May the fire within you be rekindled. The world needs your light to lead people to the Light.
For further reading, here‘s another article that could help you overcome laziness and burnout.