Nothing happens in March. Though home to Women’s History Month, St. Patricks Day, and the National Latin exam, the thing that makes March secretly unique is the fact that there are zero non-weekend days off throughout the month, leaving Berkeley High School students endlessly wandering the halls for five-day weeks and yearning for the weekends.
While the introduction to March as an endless grind of work without play may seem like an exaggeration, it really does capture how many people, not just students, view their time off work and school.
Burnout is real. “In my 27 years as a chemistry teacher, I have definitely experienced periods of burnout,” Aaron Glimme, a BHS chemistry teacher, said. Paul Bishop, a student at BHS, noted that he typically feels burnt out when ends up constantly frustrated from doing repetitive tasks. This shows how monotony can often lead to burnout and stress, making breaks from school seem like the best way to break that monotony.
Though breaks can appear beneficial in getting students and workers refreshed for the future, studies have shown that those benefits do not always stick around long-term. The American Psychological Association found through surveying that around 25 percent of working adults believed that the influx of energy and reduced stress that comes with vacation disappears the second they return to work. 40 percent of these adults said that those benefits only last a few days.
Bishop understands this phenomenon. “I usually look forward to school because Mondays help ease students in generally … but a lot of the time many pieces of homework I didn’t remember will come back to me and then I’ll start stressing about that.”
So, what are BHS students and staff supposed to do when they’re feeling burnt out, but breaks aren’t there to help them?
First, finding ways to switch up your day-to-day lives can be beneficial. Glimme found that partaking in science internships outside of his job at school definitely helped him cope with burnout that comes with being a BHS teacher. “I generally like to break up my day into things I enjoy to do and school work,” Bishop said, discussing ways he manages stress.
In addition, music has been found to relieve stress. In an overview of a study published in 2020, researchers concluded that listening to music can release endorphins and improve our sense of well-being, distract listeners, reducing physical and emotional stress levels, and reduce stress-related symptoms. “Listening to music definitely helps. I can kind of just zone out for a song or two, and if I’m listening to music while doing work it might help me find the drive to continue doing that thing,” Bishop said on the effects music has on his stress levels.
While March can seem daunting, there is still hope for students as long as they are able to improve how they cope with stress as a whole. Working together, students can get through March madness.