Feeling stressed? UCC experts reveal how to combat the springtime slump

Published by Katie Gray on

Katie Gray likes to go on walks for a micro break with her baby
Photo by Katie Gray / The Mainstream

Feeling stressed? UCC experts reveal how to combat the springtime slump

With springtime here and summer just around the corner, many students are ready for a break. They just feel more burnt out than usual and want to be done with school. During this time of year, studies show that grades drop, meanwhile high stress levels from balancing daily tasks with schoolwork challenge students.

Burnout is “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands,” author Melinda Smith says on the helpguide website.

Usually, the term burnout is used in reference to work related stress, but with the pandemic, there has been more challenges such as zoom, doing all of the work online and making more time for everyday things. If someone feels burned out, He or she will feel little to no motivation and possibly exhausted to a point where he or she may not want to hang out with friends or do anything at all.

Georgann Willis, a UCC psychology professor, provided a list of what burn out can feel like:

-You are working as hard or harder than usual, but you are not as productive as you used to be 

-You never seem to get through all the work you need to do. 

-You are on edge all the time and even the littlest thing can set you off. 

-You are starting to really dread logging into your classes or opening the next module.

Willis offered some other suggestions: “Use a planner so you know everything you are doing for the day, week, month, term, etc.  I still use a calendar printed free from the internet and put all my class times down, meetings, major due dates, and appointments. Just by keeping all that information in one place I already feel more in control, lists are a good way to stay focused. Make sure to put the most vital or time sensitive items at the top of the list and try to make less decisions in a day so you are not using energy on things that are less important.”

Tips to help with stress from The Mainstream staff.
Illustration created by Katie Gray / The Mainstream

Hanna Culbertson, the UCC life coach says that people’s bodies tell them when they are starting to get burned out, and they should listen and take a break, even if is a micro break: “Getting out in the sunshine and enjoying the sunny weather is great for your physical and mental health.  Research shows that that when the weather is sunnier, we tend to enjoy a mood boost, due to the boost in serotonin this causes. The use of light is actually integrated into many therapies for this reason! So, I would encourage anyone to get out and enjoy the sunshine when they can. Of course, as a student you have to balance getting your schoolwork responsibilities done as well, so balance is key.”

Not only can a student take a micro break but if they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. It is a good idea to make lists, “and reward yourself once you’re done with a fun activity outdoors,” Culbertson says.

“Task lists for the day, week and overall month are helpful as well (make sure to pay attention to celebrate your successes, reward yourself as you check off items,” Culbertson says, “If possible – set your workstation outside and do your homework while your outdoors and can enjoy the sunshine, set a day or two out of the week (your weekend) to set your work down and enjoy time outdoors, alone or with loved ones. Don’t forget the sunscreen, though!”

Willis suggests that one of the best pieces of advice is about productivity.

“Do not let perfection get in the way of completion. Sometimes you have to do things as best as you can and then leave it,” Willis says.

See this link for a survey for burnout from Culbertson to learn more about burnout and how to see the signs.

“Feel free to use for yourself or share with others. It can be a helpful tool to identify what you can do to care for yourself; often if you are not intentionally practicing self-care this will lead to feelings of burnout,” Culbertson says

Contact me at:

For more articles by Katie Gray please click here.

Click here to see previous coverage of this topic.