By Natalie Daniels
As we get closer and closer to leaving 2020 behind, the pandemic still looms behind all of us. With COVID-19, fears of isolation and anxiety continue to creep up among all of us. Most of us stay in our homes to protect ourselves and others from the virus. Our lives have been wholly uprooted, but we still have to act and work as if everything is normal. As we continue working from our homes, we can’t be around the people we used to hang out with. In some cases, we can be completely socially isolated, hurting our mental and physical health.
This can overwhelm us, and over some time, it can lead to burnout. Statistics show that in 2020 alone, burnouts have risen 33% percent. Women’s Health defines burnout as “the chronic state of physical or emotional exhaustion that involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity from excessive, prolonged stress.” These stresses can lead to health problems like headaches, muscle pain, insomnia, and over or under-eating.
While there isn’t a solution to end burnouts, there are ways to work through them. The most crucial aspect to focus on when feeling burnout is how to manage your mental health. While you should always have a nice balance of work and play in your life, this is especially important when you feel mentally exhausted.
Music tends to be my saving grace if I am starting to feel drained and unmotivated. Studies show that music has health benefits for the mind and the body. Put on your favorite playlist and sing and dance your heart out. On the other hand, if you want more of a calm headspace, play some chill or slower-paced music and let yourself just sit for a little bit. Either way, music helps release dopamine and serotonin to the brain to help you relax.
Exercise is another way to boost your mental health. You can put on a workout video on youtube and even dance around your house to help release endorphins. I recommend going for walks because the fresh air helps clear my mind.
Sometimes you don’t want to do physical activity, and that’s okay! Sitting down on the couch and watching your favorite TV show or movie can help relieve your mind as well! My comfort show is New Girl, but find media that you love and then take some time for you.
When you’re feeling burnout coming, unfortunately, you still have to continue with your work. There are ways to ease your mind while accomplishing your to-do list. Make sure you’re giving yourself reasonable goals and not overwhelming yourself with too many tasks. Also, take time for breaks! No one should be working hours on end. Allow yourself time without any distraction.
Give yourself something to look forward to! Try to plan zoom dates with friends or family for the end of the week or weekend. This way, you’re not just working all of the time.
2020 has been a challenging year. Treat yourself kindly. Please reach out to friends, family, and other people you trust. You are enough!
Natalie Daniels is an editorial intern for Dreamlette. She is a journalism major at Emerson College with a love of storytelling. Her favorite topics include entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, social issues, and music.