It's a common misconception and a huge stereotype that drama students are constantly full of energy, are very loud, always bouncing from wall to wall - when in reality that is not the case at all (maybe besides the 'loud' part...).
Whilst we do have the energy to keep up with our degree during practical modules, all of the practicality can completely shatter students when it comes to written work, such as coursework or essays. Whilst it's natural to put in 100% in everything you do, it can sometimes lead to dangerous territory of completely burning yourself out. Burning out is always a gradual thing and is not something you can always recognize, however once recognized it us usually far too late to nip it in the bud to stop the burnout from happening.
I asked around for what people would say to someone who is feeling burnt out, or what they would do to help, these are the responses I got:
"You've got this. These feelings are totally natural, you wouldn't feel this way if it didn't matter to you, I suggest channeling that inner strength to push through." (@SophieOld1)
"Say 'I'm here for you'...I like to use guided meditation to relax and refocus" (@tallulah85)
Having experiencing a burnout over my degree myself, I collected a list of what to say and do when going through a mental and/or creative burnout:
● That you're struggling. Sitting in creative burnout can not only be damaging to your studies, but to your personal life also, and your mental health. Speaking about the rut you are stuck in will help solve the problem, for a problem shared is a problem halved.
● What you need. Do you need company? Do you need space? Do you need assistance? Do you need inspiration? Do you need an extension? Express it, and those around you will assist you with what you need.
● How you're feeling. Bottling up your feelings about feeling burnt out and stressed out, will only lead to more stress. As I've said, problems shared are problems halved, and a support network is crucial.
● Work in chunks. Manage your workload by researching and working in chunks, take breaks to recharge and come back to the work when you feel inspired to, time management is a key skill to working with a full schedule.
● Partake in self care - looking after yourself in stressful situations is vital to keep your mental state clear so you are able to push forward. Do what makes you happy, whatever that may be, and take the time to relax when you can. Breaks are just as important as taking the time to knuckle down with your work.
● Ask for help. Go to your higher-ups, go to your peers/colleagues, and ask for the help you need. There are many opportunities at many colleges to improve on written work such as workshops or library sessions that offer writing tips and support for a large workload, or emailing your teachers for advice/in-person meetings to refresh yourself on material.
Remember, the written work you do is only a small portion of what a drama degree is about; burning out does not last forever, and you have the power to reignite yourself when you're ready to.
The World Health Organisation has officially recognized 'burnout' as a mental condition, affecting performance in the workplace. Please reach out if you feel this way, you are most likely not alone in how you feel. And most importantly, take care.