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Fighting Burnout

By: Jenna James

Dear B222 readers,

Good news–you’ve made it halfway through the semester! All the coffee-fueled cram sessions were worth it: reading week arrived just when you needed it most and offered a much needed respite from the throes of academic living. 

The bad news is… we’re only halfway through (and still have seven weeks to go). But the good news (again) is that you’re not alone!

Burnout is the devil on the shoulder of every writer. It’s responsible for those not-so-sweet nothings whispered in your ear when you’re trying to get things done, the one that says “give up” or “this one’s no good” or “are doritos suitable supper food?” And it’s around this point in the year when this mischievous little devil starts showing its face. Luckily, the team at B222 reached out to some experts on burnout who are well-versed in the tricks of the trade: the faculty of Sheridan CW&P. Here’s what they have to say… 

To start us off, a tip from our writer-in-residence, Kate Cayley:

Stop writing. Take a walk. Read. Talk to people who love you. Have faith that the work is in some way continuing inside you, without you noticing.

To hear more wise words like these or to get feedback on some words of your own, you can email Kate at to set up a meeting. 

Managing Editor of the Ampersand Review, Publisher and Founder of Soap Box Press, editor and our own Sheridan professor, Tali Voron knows a thing or two about finding a balance to combat burnout:

If you're feeling burnout, take a break and let yourself rest. We tend to get so caught up in our to-do lists we forget the necessity of balance. Go for a long walk and get some fresh air. Sit in the sunshine. Do something fun – whatever that means to you. Talk to a loved one. When you're ready, and your mind feels a bit clearer, return to the task at hand.

Is it a coincidence that Jen rhymes with zen? We don’t think so! Here’s Jennifer Chambers on how movement can help move you forward:

When I was a grad student, I remember accompanying a friend to a yoga class. When we got to Savasana where they ask you to lie down on your back, eyes closed, completely relaxed, and do nothing but breathe, it felt simultaneously like Kindergarten, freedom, and release. Who ever suggests students do this? I’d suggest Savasana! Also, ice water (hydration), moving your body (walk, run, bike, shadowbox, etc.), and chatting with friends. These should provide some respite, and just like with exercise—sometimes the rest days lead to breaking through plateaus. Good luck!

I’m not quite sure how to put words to the next tip… but that’s probably because Glenn Cifton already has. When all else fails, you can always sit back, relax, and read some poetry–like this one!

Always remember that there are four happiness hormones: Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphins. You must keep these in balance at all costs, so always disinfect your four limbs equally. There are also four humours, four seasons, four elements, and four ninja turtles. Before beginning any project, order yourself a pizza (that’s Dopamine). Turn East and light on fire (Endorphins). Turn west to kiss someone (Oxytocin). Make a schedule. Submit imperfect work. There aren’t many days left before we spit you into the open air of the summer.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that doing your best is what truly matters, even if your best means taking a break, going for a walk, or asking for an extension. We know that life can get busy, but you are worth a breather, and you deserve to work in a way that works for you.

That’s my tip.

Art by Rachel Ragbir

Thanks for reading and best of luck,

Jenna James

Editorial Assistant

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