You probably have burnout even if you don’t know it

For the longest time, I thought that I didn’t feel stress. I thought that I was immune to it. Even in moments when other people were felt uncomfortable and pressured, I couldn’t be less concerned. Eventually I realized that I had simply been operating in a state of low grade stress at all times; and it was so constant that I had just gotten used to it. It was just normal for me.

Since then, I have gotten better at identifying and managing my stress. But something that I haven’t quite learned how to treat is the burnout, or the result of excessive prolonged stress. Feeling generally overwhelmed for extended periods has left me with a really interesting form of underlying mental fatigue; I don’t feel tired enough to skip the gym or go to bed at 8pm every night, but my capacity for creativity and critical thought is at an all time low. It’s like I don’t have the motivation to think deeply about anything, and everything feels dull. It’s like I’m slowly losing my identity and my mind all at once and it’s terrifying.

I thought that our final day of practicum would be a great occasion to talk about this, because I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I’ve been doing some research, and it seems like our technology addiction might even be exacerbating the burnout we’re all feeling from school and work. Ironically enough, even with our new smart technology that does so much of our work for us, we’re still not really getting enough opportunities to truly relax. We’re always connected to different forms of technology and bombarding ourselves with information every hour of every day, and we don’t ever give ourselves a chance to decompress from it. How bad does our collective burnout need to get before we change our habits?

I think I’m finally reaching the point in which technology has become more of a detriment to me than a benefit. I miss the times when I wouldn’t feel a constant urge to scroll through my phone searching for something new and interesting to look at. As much as technology has made our lives radically convenient, it’s also keeping me in a state of being constantly overwhelmed.

My plan for this summer is to unplug as much as I possibly can. The snapchat streaks will die, and some Instagram stories will go unwatched, but I think the mental reset is worth the FOMO. I recommend you try it as well; the less time you spend scrolling, the more you have to stop and smell the flowers.

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