Editorial: How to fight burnout

Recently, I finished playing my last match in the regular season with the Stevenson University’s men’s tennis team, and soon I will continue with post-season play.

Wornden Ly is a senior tennis player at Stevenson. He has been playing tennis for nine years. (Photo from gomustangsports.com)

Tennis was always a big part of my life. I started playing in my freshman year of high school and after two years, I started my first job as a tennis instructor. From that moment, I would eat, sleep, and breathe tennis every day. I got to the point where I wanted to quit everything related to the sport because I was burned out.

According to helpguide.org, “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” As a collegiate tennis player and tennis instructor, I had a lot to juggle as a full-time student, a tennis team member, and a tennis instructor. However, burnout can happen to anyone at any stage of their life.

Gallup reported in a study of 7,500 full-time employees that 23 percent of them found themselves burned out very often from work and 44 percent reported that they feel burnout on occasion.

Since burnout is a type of stress and exhaustion, students can exhibit symptoms of burnout without even knowing it. Psychologytoday.com noted that symptoms of burnout can be physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, feelings of ineffectiveness, and lack of accomplishment.

Burnout and stress are similar, but they are different types of exhaustion. Helpguide.org explained that when people are experiencing burnout, their emotions will be blunted, while the emotions of someone under stress tend to be more overreactive. Burnout tends to be more emotionally damaging, while stress is more physically damaging to an individual.

There are many ways to overcome burnout. Harvard Business Review suggests a few ways:

  • Take breaks during the workday
  • Do something interesting
  • Take long weekends
  • Focus on meaning

In the end, taking a break is one way to ease out of burnout. In my experience, I took a break from playing tennis for the majority of the summer even though I was still teaching the sport. This allowed me to recharge and feel rejuvenated enough to get back on the court the following season.

Sometimes pursuing a different interest is another way to ease out of feeling burned out. The Harvard Business Review commented on a case study of Nicole Skogg, an optical engineer in Los Angeles who felt “burnt out by her job at a small lighting manufacturer.” She decided to leave her job and start her own company, “SpyderLynk, a mobile marketing and technology company based in Denver.”

If you feel like you are not as passionate about your hobbies and interests as you used to be, it is okay to take a break away from them.

To learn more about being burned out, or if you are experiencing burnout, talk to a trusted peer or visit the Wellness Center.

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