As college students, most of us have to deal with the daily stressors of school, work, and life. This can put a strain in our mental, physical, and emotional health as there is usually little to no time for self-care. On top of that, not many people know how to practice self-care.
“Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a break, even on my days off. I constantly feel burnt out because of work and school,” said CSUSB senior, Jailene Paniagua.
From attending CSUSB, working on the days she does not attend classes and still trying to maintain healthy relationships with loved ones, Paniagua shares her experience with burnout and how she copes.
“When I’m not at school, I’m working. If I’m not at work, I’m at school,” she explained. “And between all the craziness, I’m home, studying for classes or resting.”
“You can basically think of burnout as emotional exhaustion or depletion that comes after chronic stress,” says clinical psychology professor, Dr. Christina Hassija. “It is often the consequence of interpersonal stress or conflicts, high workload, lack of reinforcement or rewards for work, unclear or unreasonable expectations, low social support, and compromised work-life balance.”
Not only does burn out affect the self, but it can also affect others indirectly. Paniagua explained that “I know people want to spend time with me, but I always feel so exhausted, that I don’t have the energy to give to others.”
Hassija would respond to this by recommending to, “Seek out social support or the company of others, engage in pleasant or relaxing activities, exercise, try to allow for time to connect with sources of meaning or fulfillment in your life, sleep and eat well, or seek out the help of a professional.”
“Sleep helps me a lot when I’m feeling burnout,” shared Paniagua, “but when sleep doesn’t work I will usually get essential oils, put them inside an oil diffuser, and shut the world out, even if it is for just five minutes.”
Paniagua finds herself trying to remedy or prevent burnout by doing some type of self-care. “When I feel like doing a little self-care I like to sleep in a little longer than usual or maybe even do a little face mask,” she said.
Carmen Rojas, a full-time fiber optics installer, said, “My job is extremely physically demanding, not to mention I’m the only woman at the company. By the end every day I find myself drained.”
“I keep up with the work, but dealing with grumpy people and inspectors, not knowing what time my workday will end, and trying to keep in touch with my friends all stresses me out,” Rojas stated.
Self-care can be different for different people. “I go to the gym to relax, sometimes with my friends,” said Rojas. “Going makes me feel good. Plus, it distracts me from the other things in my life that emotionally drain me.”
Hassija says, “Another helpful way to prevent, address, and manage burnout is to regularly engage in self-reflection. Check-in with yourself to see how you are doing, as well as elicit feedback and support from those in your daily life.”
Rojas shared, “I think everyone should have someone to talk to, whether that be a friend, family member, or therapist. I reach out to my best friend, she is always there and helps me through so much.”
Hassija mentioned, “CAPS [Counseling and Psychological Services] offers a variety of great groups to cope with and prevent burnout and individual counseling. The Community Counseling Center on campus offers mental health services to students and community members.”
Engaging in fun activities can also help you relax. CSUSB is a host to many activities that are open to students and community members. A list of events can be found at www.csusb.edu/events.
“I think self-care is super important to keep your own sanity,” shared Paniagua. “People forget about themselves often when they are taking care of others so I always like to tell people to love themselves a bit and get some rest. Do some self-care!”