Given the nature of the world, it is hard to ignore the fact that in our various roles as students, educators, parents and/or spouses, we have been tasked with responsibilities in contexts we have not been taught or mastered. I mean does anyone feel 100% confident in using Zoom?

Stress and Burnout Defined

Stress is the way our body physically and mentally responds to an event that is inevitable2. We feel stressed when we believe the demands and responsibilities of our environment far outweigh our ability to cope and manage them.

Burnout, a close cousin to stress, manifests itself in several ways. Some examples include: checking or zoning out, reduced efficiency, feeling disconnected to parts of ourselves and our work, and feeling depleted. If you are feeling this way, you are not alone. Students tend to suffer disproportionately higher levels of stress and one in ten Canadians reported their worsened mental health since COVID-193.

Here are five useful tips to help you navigate the new normal. This list is a few of many strategies to manage or reduce feelings of stress and burnout.

1. Practice mindfulness and meditation

There are many ways to be mindful. This 3-minute guided breathing space video is one example of a mindful meditation that can be used in a variety of contexts.

2. Adopt self-compassion

Take some time out of your day to fill your bucket and do something good to yourself. This can include watching funny videos on YouTube, listening to music you enjoy, baking cookies or dance as if no one is watching (except for your judging cat!)5

3. Listen to podcasts

Podcasts can give you a nice a restart to your day. They are also great as you can listen while you walk or do other activities. Here are some favorites:

4. Connect with others

Connecting with others, either virtually or socially distanced in-person, has many mental benefits. Those pre-COVID Sunday morning brunches with your besties, or Friday night dinner with your family can now be done virtually, and as UVIC students, we can take full advantage of unlimited ZOOM access. Or you can get together in person for an air high five, elbow bump, or get really creative and share a distanced interpretive mime dance performance!

5. Engage in physical activity

There are huge mental and physical benefits of moving your body4. Here are a few ways to get active!

  • Go for a walk or run outside in your neighborhood
  • Reserve individual spots at UVic’s fitness center, an online group fitness class or a lane at the McKinnon pool through Vikes Active Living
  • Nike Training Plus mobile application is free and offers guided workout routines with or without equipment, including yoga and boxing that you can do from home


Want to learn more about burnout and stress management? Meet with one of our Learning Strategists!

Contact one of the Learning Strategists to get specific learning needs and resources from developing best practices for studying online, adopting test taking strategies, building productivity as a student and refining literacy skills.

If you are needing additional support, UVic has several virtual services for students offered through University of Victoria Student Support Services.


  1. The Working Mind. (2020, March 24). The working mind COVID-19 self-care and resilience guide [Web log post]. Retrieved from
  2. Naidoo, A and LeRoy, D. (2020, June 30). Adapting to COVID-19 dealing with burnout. Retrieved from
  3. The Center for Addiction and Mental Health. (2020). Mental Health In Canada: COVID-19 and beyond: CAMH Policy Advice. Retrieved from—public-policy-submissions/covid-and-mh-policy-paper-pdf.pdf
  4. The Daily Scan. (2020, March 25). Caring for the mind and body: Mental health in the age of COVID-19 [Web log post]. Retrieved from
  5. Sirois, F. M., Kitner, R., & Hirsch, J. K. (2015). Self-compassion, affect, and health-promoting behaviors. Health Psychology, 34(6), 661–669.