We regularly interview people who have experienced loss or burnout. Everyone experiences and responds to hardships in different ways, there is no right way or wrong way to grieve or handle stress. We share these stories in hopes that their experiences will support you in your journey – which ever side you are on – working through the process or supporting a loved one. If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out via our home page.


Anna Cook

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Junior Exercise Science major at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I am on the club lacrosse team at school and a part of our school football staff. I love to hike, ski and just be outside. I also love the occasional days where I just watch TV, relax and enjoy some alone time.

Have you experienced a time in your life when you felt burnt out? What do you think led to your feelings of being burnt out?

As a college student, I’ve experienced burnout a few times between the workload and the several extra-curricular activities I participate in. I sometimes try to take on too much and don’t have enough time for all of it. Over the past three years, I’ve learned how to manage time better and handle the stress.

I wasn’t always good at managing everything though. My freshman year I was in a new place – a beautiful place with a lot of distractions. In my first semester of college I took too many difficult classes, joined a sorority and kept up with a demanding social life. I thought I could handle it, but became overwhelmed quickly and I was too prideful to ask for help. As a result, I ended up failing a class and being put on academic probation. After that I was hard on myself and thought I couldn’t do it again. The next semester I learned how to manage my time better to handle my classes, which helped me focus and prioritize my classes so I could be successful in them.

Describe 2-3 things that helped you deal with your feelings of burnout and stress? How were you able to heal from being burnt out?

I made my health and education my highest priorities. Maintaining a consistent schedule, like going to class every day was helpful. I found a love for exercising to handle my stress, if I was anxious or stressed out I would go for a run, go on a hike, or to the gym. This helped me get out my anxiety in a healthy and productive way. I found I wasn’t productive or couldn’t stay on top of all of the work if I wasn’t healthy or feeling good about myself. I overcame my burnout by working hard to show everyone and, most importantly, myself that I can succeed in anything I put my mind too.

Thinking about all the things you might have had on your plate during this time, if you had the choice, what would you have changed? What supported you most through dealing with burnout?

If I had the choice to change anything about these past couple years I don’t think I would have changed anything, I can now tell people my story and how they can learn from my mistakes. I can show people that no matter how hard or bad you think it is, it will get better if you want it to and if you work for it. I now have been on the Dean’s list for the past 4 semesters, have a 3.47 GPA and absolutely love my school and enjoy life more knowing I am happy and healthy (because I made it a priority).

What advice would you provide others dealing with burnout?

> Take a deep breath and find something enjoyable and productive that keeps your mind off that stress for a little while

> Never give up on something, keep working hard towards your goal, but be sure to also set boundaries so it doesn’t consume you

> Try to see the good in every situation

> Don’t try to accomplish everything all at once, step by step is the best way to reach your goals

What advice would you provide those who want to support those dealing with burnout?

> Don’t give up on them

> Share positive encouragement with them

> Once in a while if you see that they are burnt out, take them away from the situation for an hour or two to take their mind off it; it’ll help them forget about the anxiety and stress for a little while

#burnout #burnoutstory #college #university

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