Infographic by Natalie Rulon
As midterm season approaches, students may be in danger of experiencing “burnout.”
Burnout can result when a student is unable to manage thier work with a healthy balance. Vice President for Student Affairs Connie Horton discussed burnout and strategies students can employ to avoid it during this especially busy time in the semester.
What is Burnout?
“[Burnout can be defined as] being tired emotionally, physically, etc. due to stress, resulting in less motivation or energy to study or perform,” Horton said. “Students may have over-booked schedules, be prone to procrastination, may be getting sick, may not have a sustainable, balanced approach to their life.”
Pepperdine students face the challenge of balancing schoolwork with extracurricular activities, work and social life.
“Balancing work, rest and play is important,” Horton said. “Those who don’t work are likely to have trouble academically. Those who don’t rest are likely to get sick, have trouble concentrating, etc. Those who don’t add some ‘play’ and relaxation will create a life that doesn’t feel sustainable.”
A Culture of Busyness
Students may get burned out when they have multiple responsibilities and duties. Junior Millie Viera saids staying busy seems to be a feature of the Pepperdine identity.
“I feel like it’s just the status quo,” Viera said. “If someone were to not stack their schedule, they may feel that they’re behind [everyone else].”
The pressure, Viera said, comes from a student’s peers rather than from the university.
“If anything, [the university’s] rhetoric is more focused on ‘taking time for yourself’ and ‘focus in,’ but when you are surrounded by so many people that you know personally who are doing so much, there is a social pressure to succeed and commit in order to have that same status as your peers,” Viera explained.
Infographic by Natalie Rulon.
Horton’s 8 Tips for Wellness and Success
Horton offered some personal advice and encouragement to students facing burnout:
1: Remember your purpose. Why are you at Pepperdine? What are your big goals? It is easier to keep persisting when you remember the “whys.”
2: Check yourself for irrational/unhelpful thoughts, perfectionism, all-or-nothing thinking, future forecasting, etc. that can drag you down or make you want to avoid the work. Correct them with rational thinking like high standards with grace and one step at a time.
3: Remember you can do hard things.
4: Work in smaller chunks of time with small “rewards” in-between, like stretching or calling a friend.
5: Don’t overcaffeinate; it adds to anxiety.
6: Take care of your body. Exercise a bit. Get enough sleep. Eat well.
8: Give time to attend to your faith, allowing time meditating, praying, reading, appreciating creation to give you perspective and help you settle. You are more than your performance. Meet with a spiritual mentor if you need help knowing how to connect faith with life.
Solutions for Students
Pepperdine Student Affairs offers programs to help students remain motivated and healthy. Their stated intention on their website is to “attend to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being and development.” Horton shared examples of what students can access for each of these needs.
“Physical well-being is addressed through Student Health Center with preventive medicine such as flu shots and treatment of illness and Campus Recreation with fitness classes, intramurals, workout options, nap-ercize,” Horton said.
Pepperdine students may choose not to take advantage of Pepperdine’s wellness resources while still managing their busy schedules in a healthy way. Some students turn to hobbies, sports or leisure time to ease the stress of a heavy workload.
Junior Jackson Mullen said he experiences relief from stress by time spent outside with his friends.
“We’re right across from the beach,” Mullen said. “It’s nice to have a place to get away to where I can relax and enjoy a sunny day with my friends. That’s one way I deal with burnout.”
Spiritual well-being is addressed by the Office of the Chaplain and Spiritual Life Programs, which offer spiritual mentoring, pastoral counseling and club convos. Horton said to look out for new programs coming soon as a part of Pepperdine’s new resilience program, RISE.
Contact: Alex Neis firstname.lastname@example.org