Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: 2023: The year you take care of yourself

Participants of the Woodland Yoga Tour meditate April 22, 2018, in Dunn Woods. Yoga is one of many ways students can de-stress and calm themselves throughout the semester.
Participants of the Woodland Yoga Tour meditate April 22, 2018, in Dunn Woods. Yoga is one of many ways students can de-stress and calm themselves throughout the semester.

Yes, we are back to school, and students — including myself — can no longer sleep in until noon and scroll through TikTok for hours on end throughout the day. Personally, it feels good to be put back on a schedule. However, I know that it will take effort to stay caught up with classes, work and other things without experiencing end-of-year burnout.  

Before we can learn how to avoid burnout, though, we have to learn how to identify burnout when it is occurring.  

Procrastinating, sense of failure or feeling helpless are a few traits that someone may experience if they are beginning to slip into burnout. It can be hard to identify burnout because it is often a sign that you may not be aware of how many things are pulling you. I’ve found that it can be more and more difficult to take part in self-care because time begins to get taken up by other things. Taking a step back and identifying parts of yourself that feel drained helps you know what steps to take in re-energizing. 

One way that helps me avoid burnout is by being intentional about what content I consume, such as podcasts.  

Recently, podcasts have been on the upswing in America with an increase of listeners rising from 57% in 2021 to 62% in 2022. I had never really been able to get into podcasts but by making time for them, I’ve seen how they can be useful.  

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One that I have been listening to is “The Positive Mindset Podcast” by Henry G Lawrence. This podcaster talks about intentionally raising one's self-awareness and how to better keep a person's inner peace or spirits high. Listening to one episode every now and then could help you reset your mentality and possibly help with keeping in touch with how you are doing mentally. As class assignments and other events begin to pick up, it’s more difficult to make time for yourself if you don’t do it intentionally.  

Sometimes it’s a lack of sleep that can creep up on us slowly because of homework due dates, projects or meetings that go late. Sleep deprivation has been said to affect moods heavily, often causing negative emotions such as irritability, sadness or anxiety. Being mindful of your sleep schedule can help you identify why you may be feeling the emotions mentioned before. If you know that you got four hours of sleep the night before, you may better understand why you are more irritated toward someone. Prioritizing sleep may not be easy, but is essential in supporting the schedule you have built for yourself.  

By taking time for yourself, it may be easier to build a schedule that can be better balanced.  

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Journaling is a good way to keep track of how you are doing and forces you to make time for yourself. By writing down your thoughts, journaling breaks nonstop thinking that can cause higher levels of stress or anxiety. Writing down your thoughts is like holding a mirror up to your mind, forcing you to look at your thinking patterns for what they are, whether they are negative or positive. After recognizing the thoughts that go on in your brain, identifying how you are feeling day to day becomes easier. 

If worst comes to worst and you do end up becoming burnt out or unable to take a break, remember that friends are there to talk. Most students can relate to one another about the stresses of school, so being able to vent about it may help. Remember that you are not alone in the new year. Identifying when you are beginning to feel overwhelmed and taking part in the tactics mentioned before may help you work to reach any 2023 goals. Following through with goals is never easy, but continuing to be mindful of your mental health daily may be the first step.  

Carolyn Marshall is a sophomore majoring in media studies focusing in film, TV, and digital production with a minor in English.

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