A while back, I wrote a letter to my teen about beating burnout and becoming more productive. Where the message was driven home for her? Her college’s fraternity rush and hazing. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
Reminder to my adult self: Important life lessons can show up in the most unlikely of places — skip assuming I always know. 🙂
Rush, Hazing, Burnout, and Self-Care?
The beginning of the school year was rushing season for joining fraternities on campus, and many guys on my floor in our dorm participated. After they received bids from their potential frats, the pledging process began, which meant hazing. Now don’t get all scared because of that word. I am well aware of what people associate with “hazing,” but the binge drinking and humiliating naked acts are not my focus for this. This hazing was different and brutal on a new level. With schools cracking down on illegal activities for hazing, it seemed that most frats turned to exhaustion.
One of my neighbors was a pledge for a frat, as well as the president of our dorm (on top of being a full-time student). One of the mornings he left two hours late because he said he was physically too exhausted to get up when his alarm first went off. He had gotten back late the night before and worked nonstop before that trying to accommodate all of the responsibilities he needed to juggle. While maybe it helped teach some resiliency, it also sure tested the pledges’ mental and physical strength, maybe to their detriment.
He was going full speed ahead, no stops allowed — it was difficult to catch a break to breathe for a minute and take care of himself, though I saw it was now more important than ever. This friend of mine was already starting to experience burnout when he showed up two hours late due to sheer exhaustion, though without a break, his burnout was going to increase until he couldn’t even maintain the basics anymore (which I could see was not going to be a great place to be).
Maybe the way to get through a crazy time without totally burning out? Give yourself a minute (or a few) to inhale, exhale, and just sit without focusing intensely on anything. Self-care looks different for everyone, but breathing and drinking water are basics for all of us. I’m thinking a few minutes of a break can make a world of difference in the long run to keep burnout at bay so you can get done what needs to get done without totally running yourself into the ground.