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Summer’s over. Pressure is building. Burnout looms. Ignore snack-serving sizes.

How do you prevent burnout?

You know the feeling: You’ve got more to do than you feel you can do. You’re bombarded with requests that are all URGENT (but maybe not always important, and it’s hard to sort them). You’re pulled in too many directions from work, home, time for yourself.

To honor the start of a new school year, new pressures and growing tensions that many of us face, I thought we might benefit from the insights of a few researchers who hope to avoid burnout and do it with a sense of humor.

SCIENCE magazine (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6448/22/tab-article-info) (5 July 2019, Vol. 365, 22-23). asked young scientists to describe, in no more than six words, how they try to prevent burnout. Some of their ideas made me laugh out loud. Here are a few suggestions:

Sing loudly! It’s socially acceptable screaming. Tiffany Phu, USA

Beer tastings count as field research. Beth McKinnon Adamowicz, USA

Sleep! Even Einstein got 10 hours. Josiah Dykstra, USA

Remember “breakthrough” starts with a “break.” Anne-Sophie Hafner, Germany

Ignore serving size suggestions on snacks. Do Soon Kim, USA

Clean house. Just joking. Netflix binge. Ken Dutton-Regester, Australia

So what are your best ways to avoid burnout? Make a list and keep it close for those inevitable days when you’ll need it.

Nancy Napier is a Boise State University distinguished professor. nnapier@boisestate.edu

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