The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

S.A.D. and burnout

How it can affect you

The warmth of the sunlight is slowly disappearing with the change of the seasons. The hot fall weather slowly dissipates into a cool breeze. Winter is right around the corner, and with the change of the tides, daylight savings slowly creeps up. The sun sets much earlier, and as the end of the semester approaches, we are all beginning to feel the fatigue of college. The novelty of studying to pass finals is all we focus on, to get good grades, and finally catch a break.

Burnout is a form of exhaustion, it can be developed by constantly being stressed and overworked, either by college, family, or jobs without proper self care and time to recharge and rest. The excessive and constant strain of constant emotional, physical, and mental stress can take a toll that most of us are familiar with.

Exhaustion can keep you constantly feeling tired, drained, and down in the dumps. It can make you feel hopeless, resentful, tired, and anxious to get everything complete for the end of the semester. Not a lot of people are aware that there are three types of burnout. Overload burnout is when you work and push yourself past your limits in order to succeed, drawing out more energy than you have to expend on tasks and assignments. Underchallenged burnout is when you are understimulated, and lose interest in things that you once enjoyed. You become complacent and unmotivated to do better or find better experiences to engage with. Neglect burnout is when you feel helpless, and begin to blame yourself as irresponsible or unable to keep up with the goals and expectations you have set yourself up for.

Another thing that may go hand in hand with burnout at the end of the semester is seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.). This usually happens around late fall and early winter, and is often associated with the ‘winter blues.’ This can also negatively affect you much more than you realize.

S.A.D. is a type of seasonal depression that occurs in extreme seasonal pattern changes, and can last anywhere from three to five months. This is thought to be triggered with the change in daylight hours, as well as stresses and seasonal changes such as family, work, and school schedules. 

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Due to the shorter daylight hours, the less amount of sunlight can prevent your brain from producing normal amounts of serotonin, the chemical that helps stabilize and regulate mood. With less sunlight, there is also an association with a heavier decrease in vitamin D. Vitamin D is a main promoter in order for your brain to produce serotonin. S.A.D. can also be caused by an increased or altered levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps you regulate sleep. This can make your body overproduce melatonin, which can increase the sleepiness you feel throughout the day, as well as increasing the probability of oversleeping.

These two things can make you feel incredibly sad, anxious, or empty for seemingly no reason. These feelings do not go away easily, and may affect your mood, socialization, and relationships with your friends and loved ones. You may feel extreme hopelessness and pessimism, irritability at yourself or others, and loss of interest in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed. This may result in difficulty concentrating, low energy, constant fatigue and feeling tired regardless of how much rest you have gotten.

If you are struggling with burnout or S.A.D., please take a few days to relax and promote self care. Find new places to explore and enjoy, visit with family and friends, and be patient and kind to yourself. If these feelings and thoughts still persist and hinder your ability to function, you can visit the Tarleton Student Counseling Services and make an appointment to talk with a professional who can help you.

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To make an appointment with a professional from the Tarleton Student Counseling Services, visit

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