Hot Topic: Avoiding Burnout

Are you, or another SWE officer/member at risk of burnout? First, it is important to identify what burnout is.

Burnout: A state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Loss of interest or motivation.

As engineering students, it is common to feel stressed out. But burnout is when you are constantly feeling overwhelmed and unable to finish tasks. Tasks that you once enjoyed doing are now dull and seem pointless. When you complete work, you feel unappreciated for all you’ve done.

Avoiding Burnout

  • Set Limits – Have a plan for how much you want to be involved outside of school. How many clubs/organizations can you be involved with while maintaining an acceptable GPA? Know how many this is, and know how much time you want to dedicate to each. If you’re willing to put it 5 hours a week for a club, then make sure you’re only working for 5 hours. If you notice that you’re spending more time, ask someone to help you out with your tasks, or stop volunteering for duties outside your position.
  • Stay Healthy – Eat right, get 8 hours of sleep, and exercise. That’s tall order for involved engineering students! Personally, I find it easiest to eat healthy by bringing my lunch to school. By bringing your own food, it probably has less fat and empty calories than food you can purchase on campus. This also makes it easier to keep the portion size under control.  As for sleeping enough, that never happens until the weekend. If you’re having trouble getting motivated to exercise, try going to an exercise class with an instructor. These are scheduled times during the week (so you can plan it in easier) and the person usually keeps you motivated for the whole hour, ensuring you get a good workout. I  enjoy doing yoga at the rec center on campus. It is a good workout and it helps me relax, which brings me to my next point.
  • Relaxation – Yes, you have a lot to do, but if you never take a break then you will get burned out really fast. Relaxing can range anywhere from a few hours to 15 minutes. Just portion out your breaks in accordance with your work. Take longer breaks after you’ve completed a large assignment or test, and take your short breaks while you’re working on an assignment. These breaks help you relax, and also give you time the mull over the problems in your head. 

Dealing with Burnout

Have you already crossed the tipping point into burnout-land? TIme to slow down, seek help, and reevaluate your goals. Let people know that you have step down from your position. You may feel like this is flaking, but you need to take care of your health. It is important to talk to your close friends, roommates, and family about how your’re feeling, and what you’ve been experiencing. Also, seek counseling from your school’s health center. They can help you better understand why you’ve reached this point, and how you can prevent burnout in the future. They are probably the best resource you have in reevaluating your goals.

No matter how much you love being involved with SWE and other clubs, remember that you’re a student first, and getting your engineering degree is the ultimate goal of attending school.

For additional information on burnout, click here and/or just search the internet for tips. There are lots of wonderful resources out there!

To all the quarter students, good luck on your finals next week!

To all the semester students, good luck on your midterms!

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