OPINION | Four ways to combat burnout, revive your college experience

Dan Toyama, a junior continuing education major from Nagoya, Japan, and Koo Christopher Osawa, a sophomore marketing major from Tokyo, were overwhelmed with studying for their school assignments. They play sports to reduce stress and overcome the difficulty of studying in a second language. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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All the Halloween fun is over, and the only thing keeping me going through this semester is the thought of eating an immense amount of food during Thanksgiving.

We are on the verge of the end of the semester. Final projects and group presentations are starting to be on students’ minds. I know because they are on my mind too. At this point, all I can think about is getting those final projects done and over with, so I can relax and not have to worry about school for the rest of this year.

Combatting burnout isn’t about focusing your attention on school because that will make you feel even more stressed. It’s about making sure you take time to do the things you love because doing what makes you happy will keep you sane.

In the meantime, while we all patiently wait for Thanksgiving and the end of the semester to arrive, here are ways of winding down and surviving the burnout that is all too real.

Go to the movie theater 

Physically going to see a movie is better than streaming one at your apartment. It gets you out of the house and gives you time apart from your phone and other devices. 

In a movie theater, there are zero distractions. The quiet and serene setting allows for a direct focus on the movie.

There’s a sense of belonging in a movie theater, knowing that all the people there have at least one thing in common, which is their desire to see one specific movie and escape reality. It’s rare to find that feeling in such a public setting. 

After I go to the movie theater, I always feel renewed. I feel braver than I did before, and I gain a new outlook on life. Movie theaters provide the opportunity to feel like a new person.

Get a coloring book 

While some may view this as childish, it is the opposite. Coloring books bring back feelings of nostalgia that are rarely reached in our college lives. 

The phenomenon of connecting with one’s inner child is associated with feeling loved and supported. Connecting with your inner child brings out feelings of peace that the stress of college easily takes away.  

According to a study by a researcher at the University of the West of England, after coloring for 20 minutes, participants were more content and calmer than after reading. The benefits are there.

Plus, coloring books are inexpensive and easily accessible. Every grocery store has them, and there are more options than princesses and dinosaurs if that isn’t your forte. 

I really like using adult coloring books that have intricate designs and complex pages. It brings me a sense of peace and calms down any nerves I have surrounding school. 

Spend quiet time in nature 

This does not mean exercising. In fact, for me, exercising is stressful. I don’t find working out peaceful or relaxing. Instead of taking a hike or walk, find a quiet place outside to sit or lay down. Enjoy the sounds and the feel of the air outside. 

It’s refreshing to do nothing for once, but instead of doing nothing while laying in your apartment, doing nothing out in nature is great for reducing stress. Outside, you’re not thinking about school and the next project you need to finish. You’re thinking about everything going on around you. Birds chirping. Leaves rustling. Grass swaying in the wind. Sounds peaceful, right?

With Forest Park, Brooks Nature Park, Snow Canyon State Park and countless others all close to Utah Tech University, the possibilities for quiet time in nature are endless. 

Volunteer at an animal shelter 

Many of us miss our pets at home. I know I miss my cat, Rex. Sometimes the best thing we can do to relax is dedicate our time to something we truly care about. 

The St. George Animal Services and Animal Shelter and PAWS Adoption Center are always looking for volunteers. 

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, research has shown that simply petting a dog lowers a stress hormone called cortisol. Social interaction between pet owners and their pets increases oxycontin hormone levels. 

While not all of us are equipped to take care of and adopt a pet, volunteering is the perfect way to interact with animals and bring us feelings of happiness. 

The best way to combat a lack of motivation and survive burnout at this point of the semester is to spend time with yourself for yourself and volunteer your time with organizations that matter to you. 

Enjoy your time here, as difficult as it may be, because you’re only going to have these experiences once. Have a good time and live in every moment, even the ones that make you just want to go home and never come back. You have a purpose here and are doing something worthwhile, whether you realize it or not.