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Perspective: Pulling off a fourth quarter win

Brigitte Werner

The last few weeks have been brutal. We’ve voted in the midterms, turned back the clocks, dealt with our first snow, hopefully gathered leaves for the last time, and some of us have our winter holiday decorations up. There are still a few scarecrows and ghosts on lawns, but some of those “ghosts” are just midterm campaign signs that need to come down. Getting through the last quarter of the year is exhausting.

You may also be feeling the fatigue that comes from a decade’s worth of personality changes that scientists say happened in a fraction of that time.

It appears we’re more neurotic than before the pandemic and more stressed out. We’re also less conscientious which feeds our neuroses as we show up late for meetings and let due dates slide.

While it’s okay to be “not okay,” it’s not okay to ignore the signs of burnout until it’s too late to catch your breath and fuel your fire.

Getting from October to January takes a lot, but we’re halfway through the quarter and it’s okay to take a breather.

We’ve got a week before Thanksgiving and then the mad rush to the New Year begins in earnest. To keep your balance and enjoy the last few remaining weeks of the year, I encourage you to prioritize self-care. I don’t mean just bubble baths and lavender-scented candles, I mean setting healthy boundaries, turning off the job when the workday is over, and taking comfort in your social connections. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it feels like it’s “you against the world,” but when you have a network of supporters on your side, you’ll be taking a victory lap in no time – at home and on the job.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and I’m rooting for you!

Chair and Professor - NIU counseling and higher education