Dealing with those times when the grind has got you down


Julian Bartlebaugh, Staff Writer

Whether you are a freshman going into high school, or 60 years old on the verge of retirement, we have all experienced the end of the rope, the feeling of not being able to go anymore.

“I wouldn’t call it burnout; but exhaustion, frustration, even a sense of ennui…sure. Everybody feels this from time to time,” said long time teacher at B-A, Mr. Robert C. McMinn, who has been on the faculty for parts of four decades.

Burnout is physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress, and it’s an inevitable factor in life that happens to everyone at some point. Waking up everyday and jumping into the same routine become tedious and affects productivity and drive. A high school student will spend 180 days or somewhere between 900 and 1,000 hours at school a year. Combine that fact with the 13 years you spend in school before college it equals 2,340 days of your life and 13,000 hours you spend inside a school just in your teen years.

No one can possibly spend 2,340 days of their life going through the same grueling routine of getting up 5 days a week at dawn just to go and sit through 8 hours of lecturing without suffering from a burnout.

Seniors know the feeling well.

Remember that moderation is the key. Work hard, but play hard, too.

— Mr. McMinn

“I am experiencing a burnout from school because it’s my senior year and I’m over school. The last couple of months have been a struggle, but I’m trying to push through it,” said senior Ashtyn Payne.

An article from help guide on dealing with burnout talks about “the three R’s”: Recognize, watch for the warning signs of burnout and be prepared; Reverse, undo any damage that has occurred by seeking support and managing stress; and Resilience, build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health.

Whether through the three R’s or some other coping mechanism,B-A seniors say they are fighting shutting down from burnout now.

“I used to count down the days and try to stay motivated, but Igave up at 90. Since then I have been embracing it,” said Riley D’Angelo.

Most senior students have felt a sense of burnout. Many students and adults have or will feel this feeling of exhaustion. It all starts with overloading of stress that eventually will cause a shutdown. Students across B-A have felt this stress and state it regularly.   

“Stress is an everyday factor. Stressing over grades and getting assignments in before the due date. It is just constant for high schoolers,” said Ashtyn Payne.

In life there is three main ideas that constantly flow through your head, goals, dreams and aspirations, and survival. Unfortunately, in today’s society the survival aspect, which is quenched by working and supporting yourself and your family, heavily over shadows your true goals and dreams. As a child you have no responsibility and have the world as your playground. As you become an adult you are expected to grow up, have a family, and work till you die. This is the harsh reality we live in and i think it gets to people. Everyday you wake up you have to go through your routine and work and support. How can someone achieve their dreams and goals when their main focus is on survival. Along with this work and routine you have little time to do what you want when you want. The leading cause of burnout is being unhappy and boredom. Sadly, everyone will burnout.

“I think stress is only as strong as you let it be. I think for some though, stress has been causing their burnout since day one,” said junior Travis Luensmann, who is a starting pitcher on the baseball team, who knows a little something about stress.

Help Guide’s article “Burnout Prevention and Treatment” says this about the relation between stress and burnout. “Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and mentally. However, stressed people can still imagine that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better. Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations”

In adults burnout can be much more prevalent than in younger teens. As an adult burning out is a serious issue among the working class. There are signs when you are burning out and it is best to notice them early, signs like: every day is a bad day; caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy; you’re exhausted all the time; the majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming; you feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.

Mr. McMinn has been through the paces in life and has found his own way to push through it.

“Work related stress usually comes from a feeling of having too much to do with not enough time to do it,” he said. “I find the best way to deal with such a situation is to dig in and get every thing completed. I don’t procrastinate, but I pace out the work doing a chunk at a time. With proper planning you generally find that many tasks really don’t take that long to complete.”

A more serious fact about burnout isn’t just unhappiness; it actually has serious mental and physical side effects. Physically speaking a person will become more lethargic, with a decreased appetite, lowered immune system, and even muscle pain and headaches. Mentally, you may feel alone, or helpless. You will feel as if everything you’re doing is a waist and will gain zero happiness from a successful work day. To you it will all seem like a failure.

Bellwood-Antis valedictorian Riley D’Angelo even experiences burnout and stress of school, which she said has come about as a result of the monotonous routine.

“The last three marking periods I have been experiencing an extreme burnout. The monotonous schedule and lack of motivation are big factors in the school environment,” she said. “Stress used to be an everyday factor to me, but now it’s to the point where I am so burnt out, the only stress I have is where to go for dinner.”

“Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.” Randall G Leighton.

This quote really speaks for itself. Love what you do for a living, be happy with the life you are living and creating. If you wake up everyday and enjoy going to your job or going to school and you truly love what you are doing, you will be able to avoid burnout. The stress of work will be there, the stress of family will be there, but stress can be managed easier. Do what you want in life, don’t settle down and do what the norm is. If you hate what you are doing in your daily life you almost certainly will burn out. 

In the end, the only thing you can do is to fight. The first step in most life issues is being able to identify the problem and notice it. The second step is to live a healthy lifestyle: get more sleep, eat healthier, exercise both physically and mentally, and finally, talk to people, separate yourself from work and school, spend time with friends and family.

“Don’t let the feeling of not having enough time stop you.” -Psychology Today

For senors dealing with the stress and burnout of the end of their high school careers, take a tip from Mr. McMinn, who says keep grinding. It will help you finish strong in hhigh school and prepare you for real life.

“The best advice for seniors finishing school is to remind them ‘ it ain’t over til it’s over,'” he said.”Don’t allow feelings of excitement and anticipation to divert your attention from important tasks and responsibilities. As for life in general, remember that moderation is the key. Work hard, but play hard, too. Just keep everything within a reasonable scope of time and effort.”