How to Combat Burnout

Burnout affects everyone from the student body to our administration.

Burnout is a natural thing that happens to everybody. A mental and physical exhaustion due to overworking yourself is one of the ways to describe burnout, and might hit home with you if you’ve ever felt that you might have had it. Burnout is caused by overworking the body and mind while not providing enough of the everyday essentials, such as rest, to survive and thrive. 

This could very much be why you feel you have no energy. Maybe you’re taking a lot of AP or concurrent enrollment classes, you have practice after school, you’re working this whole weekend, or maybe it’s something that seems smaller, such as just getting through each day. It’s totally understandable to feel this way, but there’s a way to cope. 

Fixing your burnout may seem impossible, and it is if you focus on too much of the big picture. If you focus on the smaller parts of the whole issue, then you can slowly cope with  the micro problems and eventually conquer the formerly impossible task. We just have to start small.

To combat burnout, you need to do the exact opposite of what is causing it: you need to prioritize yourself. You need to do things for you, and care for you. But before we can get into that, we need to give ourselves some information on how to help.

Let’s start with some psychology. According to the American Psychological Association (, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or Maslow’s Motivational Hierarchy is a motivational theory of psychology created by Abraham Maslow in 1943. This Hierarchy of Needs is a 5-tiered pyramid of what humans need to survive and then thrive. The base of this theory is that the next tier can’t be reached without fulfilling the one prior. So if someone hasn’t fulfilled their needs through friendship, family, and social intimacy, it becomes harder to succeed in the higher tiers. 

Picture of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Then there is also the SELFIE Method. This method is an acronym that focuses on different ways to perform self-care.

According to Reach 4 Hope ( The acronym stands for:

S is for sleep. Making sure to get enough sleep, whether it’s going to bed early or taking a nap in the middle of the day, is vital to have enough energy to do the things you want or need to do.

E is for eating. Eating helps give you energy and keep you in a good mood. Some days may be hard to get your 3 meals in, so you could try smaller meals throughout the day.

L is for light. This is specifically for vitamin D. Getting outside or just standing at a window can help. Fresh air is also something that can make you feel better.

F is for fun. Doing things for you. Bake some cookies, play video games, read a book, just find something that sparks a sense of joy inside of you.

I is for interaction. Going out with friends or staying in with family, the people around you genuinely care for you. Spend some time with those close to you and open up to them.

E is for exercise. Exercise sounds boring but just going out for a walk or lifting something. You could do this while watching tv or go on a walk with friends.

Now that we’re equipped with all this information we can start the long journey of self-care.

Self-care may seem kind of strange or unimportant, or even selfish sometimes, but it’s small, self-management things you do everyday. You have to start small and make sure that your needs are met. Not just physical but mental needs that the SELFIE method talks of. Do the things that make you feel fulfilled because you will start to be able to do more. 

One of our school counselors and advisors for Hope Squad, Beth Johnson said, “When you feel better, you do better.” She emphasizes that personal mental health impacts your well-being in innumerable ways. 

Our counselors don’t say this just for show. They genuinely care about you and want to find ways to help. Go talk to your counselor, or any of the counselors for that matter, because they will try their hardest to be there for you and help you through the harder points in life. We even have a school therapist, David Visser, who you can always set up an appointment with and have a chat.

Visser reflects, “Winter is a tough time and January is a tough time, but really it’s giving people something to look forward to and something they can do …. At the end of the day it’s processing and looking at the good that you did do, so you know what you want to do the next day.”

These resources are here for everyone, and there is no shame in using them. They’ll always be here for you to help with the long fight that is mental health, that at first seems daunting, but thanks to what you now know, it may become easier with purposeful practice.

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