** This blog is focused on my own experiences but discusses several general elements of being overly stressed**
It is easy in todays 24/7 connected world to become burnt out or overwhelmed with the stress load we face. In Korea the society and current culture is all about the go-go-go, and doing everything as fast as you can. A lot of the time it wasn’t about the quality, it was more about how much you can complete in the least amount of time. If you do a good job on something they reward you by giving you a larger workload.
According to the 2015 American Psychological Association America’s stress survey, 23% Americans reported that their health was “poor”, which is about 3% higher from 2014, based of of their stress levels. Being stressed out can burn you out. A few symptoms of being burnt out, according to Forbes are , exhaustion, lack of motivation, and cognitive problems. These were just a few of the symptoms that I had this past month or so in Korea.
March-May was a very busy month for my students and me. We had about 5 events do complete, apart from finals and graduation. By June, I was completely exhausted. There has never been a time that I can remember, where I was so tired that I actually fell asleep just blinking. I actually did not realize how burnt out I was until the last two weeks of school when my body decided to force me to rest. I became sick. The doctor just told me that it was laryngitis but it felt like death. I couldn’t do anything and I had a deep cough. I am pretty sure it was a sinus infection with the start of bronchitis. Either way the medicine didn’t seem to work and I ended my last year in South Korea sick and with hardly any voice.
That illness made me realize that I was probably overworked and needed a break. After finishing out the year. The absence of stress allowed me too see just how stressed out I was this past year. While living through the year, I knew I was doing a lot. I tried very hard not to become stressed out. I worked out, took time to do things I enjoyed, rested whenever I could, had fun and planned my time tightly. I still became burnt out and was overworked. I think that the problem with what I did was that even though I had a great time this past year, I never slowed down. Sure, I rested but my resting time was scheduled and often times forced. In the long run that didn’t really give me the rest I needed. I needed to be able to go somewhere and not think about anything. Spend a few days doing nothing and thinking about nothing. In order to have prevented burning out, I should have slowed down and say no more.
If you are thinking of moving to Korea, then I want to let you know that t is a fast pace and a quick moving society (from the Seoul area perspective). If you are simply finding yourself burnt out a lot of the time, then I encourage you to just take some time doing nothing, sure you can read, watch tv, play games and so on but don’t put a schedule to it. Just enjoy sometime without worrying about where or what you have to do after this rest time.