Opinion: Burnout is real and it’s here to stay

illustration of what it feels like to experience burnout
Illustration by Alieha Dryden | The Arbiter

It’s only week six, I tell myself. How could I feel this way already?

I remind myself that I am human. This is a normal feeling to experience, especially when I step back and realize how busy I really am. Working two jobs, going to school full time, living on my own, paying bills and caring for a dog at the same time. Burnout is real and it’s here to stay. 

Being stressed about turning in assignments on time is one thing, but this isn’t burnout. Clocking in late to work isn’t either. Having constant panic attacks and disassociating from the people and things I love because of my exhaustion. That is burnout.

There is no true diagnosis to determine burnout, since everyone experiences this phenomenon differently. On top of that, there is no true cure to improving mental states caused by burnout besides medication, which I refuse to cooperate with. 

In racing terms, when a car performs a burnout, the driver keeps the vehicle stationary, while simultaneously hitting both the gas and brake pedals. This causes the friction between the asphalt and tire to create heat and smoke.

Burnout within a person feels the same way in the sense that the human body, or a car’s tire, is going at a constant speed but the brain, or car, isn’t moving. My brain is burnt out. The driver has caused enough friction between my body and brain, to the point where I am burnt out. 

When someone experiences burnout, they need time to disassociate, in a healthy manner, and figure out what step they need to take next to escape this situation and progress in a forward motion. This is where I am at. 

illustration of what it feels like to experience burnout
[Illustration depicting different contributors of burnout.]
Illustration by Alieha Dryden | The Arbiter

I have disassociated for long enough, for I have lost contact with many close friends and colleagues, to the point where I find myself lost in places I have been many times prior — such as my workplaces and my own home. 

As I have experienced this before, I see burnout as one of those phenomena that cause one domino to fall on another. Feeling this stressed and exhausted opens the trapdoor to a whole world of mental concerns such as depression, anxiety and other emotional and behavioral troubles. 

In today’s world, I feel as if doctors disregard burnout as a serious health concern because of the more common mental health complications like anxiety and depression. There needs to be more attentiveness to burnout. It exists, and it thrives among people who may be working on the clock, going to school full time, raising a family or those who are just trying to support themselves. 

Everyday stress and burnout — two completely different issues that are equally as prevalent in today’s society. Two completely different issues that many people disregard in other’s daily lives. “Get outside,” they say. “Take a three-day weekend,” they say. “Burnout is real and it is here,” I say. 

So, how can I cure my burnout on my own accord? Ultimately, I cannot. However, I have found ways to combat feelings of mental exhaustion throughout the week. 

Music is my first escape. Finding one new album a week and listening to it from start to end — learning about the artist and what they stand for in their music.

Another is writing out my emotions in a journal. No, this is not a teenage diary, but rather a place where I can find shelter to shield myself from outside influences and stressors.

My last suggestion is to use Boise State’s Health Services or any outlet in which you can express your stress and frustrations to someone who is not involved in your everyday life.

Burnout is real and it is here to stay. However, there are ways to overcome the heaviness of it all, and the resources are there. It just takes time and perseverance. 

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