Dear Chip #31: You Are Experiencing Burnout

Dear Chip #31: You Are Experiencing Burnout

Dear Chip,

These past two years have been a blur. I feel like Covid has sucker punched me. Most days, All I want to do is collapse on my bed and never get up again. It is like I have no energy. I do not know if it is because of schoolwork or simply getting up early in the mornings. Everything in my life—from getting out of bed to exercising to writing to reading—requires a significant amount of activation energy. All these activities usually felt smooth and seamless. Now they had turned into a grind. I am not depressed, or even particularly sad. Even when I sleep well, I wake up without any energy in my body. I try to explain how I feel to my parents, but they just make me a cup of coffee and tell me to hurry up or I will be late. I have confided in other people, and they do not seem to understand either. One second I will work hard for a good couple of hours or so, but after I will be so mentally fatigued that I feel like I am unable to think. My thoughts become clouded and all I want to do is lay down. My efficiency decreases and I am unable to solve problems and I get frustrated easily. No amount of break time seems to help with this as I have tried taking longer breaks, going for walks and nothing helps.

I guess my question is, have you ever been so tired that you cannot see straight? If so, what are some ways that you cope with it?


Dreary Friend



Dear Dreary Friend,

This year marks the 3rd year of the Covid pandemic, which I can undoubtedly say has been a real kick in the teeth for many people. I, too, am one of these people, what with the sickness, quarantining, and constantly evolving variants of the virus. It’s enough to make you want to scream and wish things could go back to normal, that we can go back outside without having to deal with masks and the fear of you and your loved ones getting sick. So I most certainly have been in your situation before, and I think I might know why you may feel this way.

I think that you, my dear Dreary Friend, are experiencing burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Usually, it occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and are unable to meet constant demands. Now, this isn’t a bad thing, mind you. It’s entirely normal for our bodies to need to recharge whenever we feel too overwhelmed. And you’re not alone! Not only have I felt it before, but many people experience burnout all over the world. Sure, it doesn’t feel good, but it’s an entirely normal and valid feeling to have.

Ever since Covid has hit, many people have been experiencing pandemic-related burnout and fatigue. Having to constantly keep up with masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and getting sick have overwhelmed people to the point of feeling exhausted. They feel tired even after getting enough sleep, lack the motivation to do simple tasks, and have trouble concentrating. Symptoms that you, too, seem to be experiencing.

So how do we fix it? Well, the road to recovery isn’t always the most straightforward. What might work for some people might not for others. But with enough thought and listening to your body’s needs, you can find a way.

A popular method to help deal with burnout is to perform self-care. Most people will push through their sluggishness for understandable reasons. Many people have a job or school that they need to attend or have other things to do that they can’t afford to miss out on. I’m sure you, too, have essential tasks that you need to perform during the day. But whenever you find yourself with some free time, try to listen to what your body needs. If your body feels tired, then maybe take a nap or start to relax. Don’t skip out on meals and eat something if you feel hungry. If you’re feeling thirsty, make sure to drink plenty of water. Hydration is important. Even talking to loved ones or doing something you enjoy is self-care.

Although you might already be doing these things, it’s essential to set these types of goals to help your body and give yourself a sense of accomplishment. Small victories such as getting up in the morning or eating a snack can help you feel more accomplished during the day. Even if you haven’t completed all of your homework and chores, know that taking care of yourself and your needs is something you should celebrate.

Another method is to try to think about stuff that makes you happy. Try to remember things that will help cheer you up, like your favorite memory or a favorite scene from a tv show or movie. Even as much as a small chuckle can do wonders for trying to cut away at the fog of burnout. It could help you find joy in the activities you used to love doing, which in your case, could be reading and writing. Even if this method of cheering yourself up doesn’t work for you, it can never hurt to try.

The last option I can think of is seeing a therapist. If you feel nothing you’ve done has worked and things aren’t getting better for you, seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of. You aren’t broken or less of a person for going to therapy. I’m not saying you need it now, but if you ever choose to go, know that it can provide you with a way to work with an expert to sort out your problems.

Hopefully, this response has helped you out in some way. If not, I can only wish you the best of wishes and luck in your endeavor. If there’s anything else I can say to you, it’s that you won’t keep feeling like this forever. Things will get better, no matter how dreary things get.


Sincerely, Chip