Newhouse Insider: The Reality of Burnout and Tips to Avoid it

Mackenzie Snell

As we enter the third month of 2021, it is full steam ahead for most. My roommates and I balance classes, part-time jobs and one (or in one case, two) internships. For many of us in grad school, “the grind” is not unfamiliar; after all, we didn’t get into Newhouse by slacking off. However, pushing yourself to your breaking point is not healthy. Burnout is very real. I remember how I felt at the end of my undergraduate degree and would like to avoid that if at all possible.

Due to the changes in semester dates, many of us will start our Maymester only a few days after this semester. This is not enough time for the mental reset that many of us need after a semester of going 110%. On top of that, there will be no spring break, which means many of us will go from January to June at a breakneck pace. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to practice self-care during the semester— not just after. 

Go Outside

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to stay inside and push yourself to do “ one more hour” of work, especially with COVID and so many school restrictions. But, the physical break from sitting in the same place is essential. Get outside, go for a walk, go skiing. Although it’s cold, Central New York can be charming in the winter.

Step Away From The Screen

I spend 8-10 hours a day staring at my screens for school and work. To counteract this, I’ve challenged myself to read 100 books in the year. That may not be a feasible number for everyone, but reading for even half an hour will give your eyes and brain a break. On that note, if anyone has good book recommendations, definitely send them my way!

Make Your Own Wellness Days

The idea of wellness days was well-meaning by the chancellor, but the reality of taking a random Tuesday and Wednesday off just isn’t feasible for many of us. We have jobs and internships that won’t be giving us the day off, so we’ll keep working through it. The idea is a good one, though. If you have the flexibility, try to set aside a weekend that is just for your wellness. Go to the zoo, stay in bed all day, learn a new sport. Whatever you do, set your email to out of the office and take the whole day off. You deserve it.

Commit To Your Breaks

One of the most important things you can do is commit to taking your break when you schedule one. The sanctity of my Wegmans and Target trips is never disturbed. If I go with my roommates, we keep the convos on our personal lives or movies we want to watch, and if I go by myself, I make sure it’s music or a podcast in my ears and not anything school-related.

The next six months of our lives aren’t going to be easy, but we have the power to keep ourselves healthy and avoid burning out.

Follow Mackenzie on Instagram @mackenziegracesnell.