The absolute mad dash of the fall semester’s foreboded end has at long last arrived. Students and faculty alike may be reaching their wit’s end—crunching numbers, grinding out lengthy documents and collecting the end bit pieces of projects, hoping to hit a positive concluding note and gain some closure before the winter breaks cool reprieve. With the increased workload, its close associate, the phenomenon of “burnout,” has begun to manifest in the New College discourse as well.
Burnout, referring to the experience of exhaustion, loss of motivation and apathy that occurs after long periods of stress, can be a complex issue to tackle. The causes can be varied and the symptoms generalized, making it difficult to find a one size fits all approach to managing it. Further, stress can come from places beyond our control. Yet, as the Program Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) Dr. Anne Fisher emphasized, there are still meaningful steps one can take to ameliorate the feeling of overburden.
“One thing I would suggest to people is even when we hit Thanksgiving, try to take some time, and just rest and do what you want,” Fisher said. “Do very little, do things that make you feel good.”
Fisher then went on to emphasize how being in a natural environment, in particular, can help folks decompress and enhance their recovery.
“I think things that you do outdoors in positive natural settings,” Fisher said. “You increase the amount of rejuvenation that you get. If you go wherever you are, if you like to go to the beach, or if you go for a walk in the forest, or if you go to your local park and lay on a blanket and look at the clouds, you know or take a walk in a place that you find really positive.”
Fisher also placed importance on the practice of being mindful while in these spaces, paying attention to one’s internal state, and decompressing one’s feelings.
“Pay attention to the natural things around you,” Fisher added. “You pay attention to your own internal feelings. How’s my breathing doing? You know, it’s really a sense of mindfulness. And if you can, mindfulness is a very easy thing. We have some stuff we do here with it.”
Ultimately, only you know what will help you relax and be rejuvenating.
“While we’re in the middle of this, anything that you do that helps reduce your stress will reduce your burnout,” Fisher said.