The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Kyra’s guide to managing midterm burnout

A couple things I do to keep it together when the semester gets tough
Work+with+yourself+to+figure+out+what+helps+you+most.+
Photo by Olivia Mathie
Work with yourself to figure out what helps you most.

With autumn comes many things: baggy jeans and big sweaters, apple cider and hot cocoa and, of course, the uncontested midterm burnout.

I absolutely love to pile myself with responsibilities, and I’ve come to realize that if I don’t take a second to slow down and breathe, approximately zero of these responsibilities are ever actually accomplished.

I, like everyone, am prone to an unhealthy coping mechanism or two, or maybe more than two, but I’ve been working hard this semester to compile a list of healthy ones I can dig into when I need to chill out and reset my focus.

1. Yoga

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 100 more times, yoga is magical. I’ve always had a hard time slowing my thoughts and grounding myself, but yoga has been a miracle worker.

I can’t function if I’m not staying at least somewhat active, but I get anxious going to the gym. Yoga is a happy compromise. I love the vibes of a yoga room — fairy lights, pretty colors, chill music — and the movement is enough to keep the thoughts swirling in my head intelligible.

I love a good Hilltop Group Exercise class — I tried power yoga last Monday and learned how to do a headstand, sick right? — but I recently gave a hot yoga class at Eaum Yoga and Fitness Studio downtown a try.

They pretty much charge you your future firstborn for a membership, but I’m tempted to sign my potential child away. I left that class feeling exhausted and exhilarated in the best way possible.

2. Reading

I was a huge reader as a child, but then I got to high school and hardly had the time or energy to do even the assigned reading for my honors and AP English classes.

It’s hard for me to get started on a book for a few reasons, the main one being that when I get into a book, it’s hard for me to put it down, and I have too much to do to sit and read for six hours straight.

My lovely roommate Kerry has a shelf full of books in her room, and one day while I was helping her pick an outfit, one caught my eye. 

She said I could borrow it, and reading in increments has been a test of my willpower, but being swept up into a different world for an hour or so at a time has been very stress-relieving.

I highly recommend a cheesy romance novel or something without any major conflicts. It’s no “War and Peace,” but not all reading needs to cause an existential crisis.

3. Journaling

I started journaling regularly a few years ago, and it has been an absolute lifesaver. Writing has always resonated with me (obviously, I hope), and getting my thoughts out in a tangible way helps me make sense of them.

I started with a guided journal, and once I finished that, transitioned onto a big girl journal with no questions to get me started.

I have a system I’ve followed since I first started: I have to complete one entire page, and if I start a second one, I have to fill that entire one, too. Sometimes I have more to say but not an entire page’s worth, so all of my journals have scribbled writing down the sides and around the top of most pages.

4. Food

Food is fuel, but it’s also something to be enjoyed. I’ve been learning how to find balance between the two and eat what my body needs to operate the best it can, while also not depriving myself of my cravings.

My focus, motivation and anxiety have all been horrible since getting back to school, and I couldn’t put my finger on what changed.

And then the morning of a massive exam when I was struggling to pull myself out of bed, my mom sent me an article from an ADHD magazine she subscribed to (before I even got diagnosed, we just knew).

I am a firm disbeliever in dieting, but following a guide to fuel my body when I was struggling with giving myself the proper nutrients was perfect for me.

I’ve been eating protein-dense breakfasts, whether that’s an omelet with cottage cheese (it’s better than it sounds, I promise) and sauteed veggies, or Greek yogurt with granola, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and fruit when I have less time in the morning.

I’ve cut back on my refined carb intake, started putting veggies with dinner every night and incorporated more healthy fats. And most importantly, I’ve been eating three meals plus snacks.

I haven’t completely cut out sugar or anything crazy like that. I have the biggest sweet tooth, and I know depriving myself of my cravings would only create unhealthy habits and food guilt.

It’s all about balance.

These are the things that help me stay focused and motivated while curbing the midsemester burnout, and I recommend you give them a try, but don’t be too stressed if you don’t like Brussels sprouts, or headstands just aren’t your thing.

Work with yourself to figure out what helps you most. Listen to your body, it won’t lie to you.

Price can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kyra Price, Freelance Writer

Kyra is a third-year psychology and public health student. This is her fifth semester on The Spectator. In her free time, she likes to listen to a borderline concerning amount of music (like 40-70 hours a week) and attend any concert she can get her hands on tickets for.

 

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