Ask Emma: I’m struggling to make it to Thanksgiving break

Identify source of burnout; take steps to reduce influence of that activity



Having trouble finishing the last stretch before Thanksgiving Break? Ask Emma has some advice for you. Stay strong, Cougs.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen news editor

Dear Emma,

We are so close to Thanksgiving break, but I’m really struggling to make it through these last couple weeks. I’m feeling so exhausted and anxious. Everything — school, work, being with friends — is making me feel overwhelmed and easily frustrated.

I hate that I feel this way when I’m so close to being done. How do I make it to break without having a breakdown?


Ready For Break

Dear Ready For Break,

I’m so sorry you’re having a rough time right now. I get it, and I’m sure a lot of other people are feeling the same way. It’s important to know you aren’t alone.

What you’re describing to me sounds a lot like burnout. Unfortunately, I don’t know of many other solutions than to get some much-needed rest, which I hope you’ll get over break. 

Until then, there are a couple things you can do to make it through without snapping. First, try to identify the source of your feelings. You said that everything is combining to make you feel this way, but is there one thing that’s worse than the others? Can you pinpoint a particular situation that’s making you feel overwhelmed and exhausted? 

Once you have figured out the source of your burnout, you can take steps to reduce its influence in your life. If you have to continue doing that activity, consider how you can take breaks to reduce your stress. Maybe that means creating study breaks every half hour or putting your phone away while you take time to eat a meal. 

Establishing boundaries with the source of your burnout is an important step that I think will really help you feel better. It won’t fix the problem entirely, but you may feel generally less overwhelmed. 

Most importantly, don’t approach this alone. Loop in your friends and family so they know how they can support you. Ask for help when you need it, although I know that can be difficult. That might be as simple as telling your boss you’re feeling overwhelmed and would appreciate a longer lunch break. If you think an action would help mitigate your feelings, take that step and communicate your needs with the people around you. 

Break is a great motivator to get through this last little stretch. Keep pushing as much as you can, knowing you will be less overwhelmed soon.

I strongly encourage you to seek professional help before things get really bad. That might be right now, or it might be after break if things aren’t better then. Connecting with a mental health professional could be the step you need to build your resilience and coping skills so you can push through this difficult time.

I hope these steps help you a bit. Keep going, you got this!