Mental Health: Burnout

I drew the featured picture, and I cannot draw. While I think my drawing is hilariously awful, mental health is an important issue in our everyday lives. I’ve been wanting to do a mental health series for awhile now. I think “mental health” is this buzz phrase that gets thrown around, but people don’t actually know what it means. The term “mental health” is often connected to mental illness and while that’s somewhat accurate, there’s more to it.

Definition of Mental Health

Mental health is generally defined as one’s psychological and emotional well-being. Some websites and books add in social well-being, but I’m going to focus on the first two definitions. I might circle back to it (we’ll see).

While I was doing my research I found this site. I think it does a great job of defining mental health in depth and separating it from mental illness. For shortness sake, I will attempt to summarize. Mental health is about our well-being while mental illness is about “diagnosable mental disorders.” I hope to do a post about mental illness later in the series.

In my opinion, someone can have poor mental health without it being mental illness.

Burnout

Burnout technically means “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress” according to Google. Within the context of mental health, I think burnout would be an example of poor mental health but not mental illness.

In college, everyone talks about self-care which I think falls into the category of mental health and well-being. So, to me, the opposite of that is burnout which has been extremely applicable to my life recently.

Here’s my burnout story:

We’re getting close to the end of the semester/school year, and I finished my last big project/assignment Friday. Because I’ve been in a near-constant state of stress since I got back from spring break, I burned out. I spent the entire weekend doing nothing and not being stressed about doing nothing. The problem is the semester isn’t over yet. I still have day-to-day homework, finals, and a summer job to find.

So here are some tips to beat burnout:

  • What I Do. I do not recommend this, and I’m trying to change my ways. I was the ultimate lazy person from Friday morning to Monday night, and I basically slept through the weekend. I would wake up, eat, watch something on Netflix, and go back to sleep. Eventually, this got boring, and I turned back into a productive member of society. This takes way too long and just isn’t healthy. Don’t be like me.
  • Take care of your self. The main idea of self-care! This works to prevent burnout before it happens. Relax and set aside some time when you’re not stressing at all. Do something you enjoy and don’t think about anything else but enjoying it. I offer some other tips in my midterms post.
  • Space out your work. This is something I struggle with. Do a little bit of big project each day that way you’re not super stressed at the end. If you need help getting started, check out my Increasing Productivity post.

I am going to try to take my own advice and do better. If you have any tips for me, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Final Notes

Mental health and illness can be/are sensitive topics to some people. I understand that everyone has their own experiences and knowledge of these subjects. I do not know everything and what works for some people won’t work for others. So take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Check back next week for another mental health post!

Comments 4

  • Great intro. Looking forward to learning and discussing this. I think I have grown some in self care ( mind you I am 62 not a college student, this is life long learning) today I had a trigger event and I mediate ly became very stressed, hyperventilating, shaking just reliving those days. I freaked. But I have said my peace and let it be. In the coming days we will see. Thanks Katy you always seem to talk about the right things.

    • I think it’s important to de-stigmatize the topic of mental health. I look forward to discussing this topic and only share what you’re comfortable with.

  • Great subject. Looking forward to more. Love the ability to click thru to the website you mentioned. This is a sibject alot of people syruggke with everyday

    • I’ve been wanting to cover mental health since I decided on the subject of my website. I think it’s an important part of our lives that deserves to be talked about.

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