Picture this: Your inbox is overflowing, applications are going out, acceptance and rejection letters are coming in, and there’s an endless line of students waiting to talk to you—you’re swamped but still going.

Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. We asked seasoned college counselors and mental health professionals for their advice on how to avoid burnout.

1. Make Answers Readily Available, Even If You Aren’t

“Students may need answers to college questions at times when you aren’t available. Web pages, online bulletin boards, and other tools can be accessible on demand to students. By posting links to colleges, application sites, scholarship resources, and more, you can help students help themselves around the clock.”

— Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., author of College Counseling for School Counselors

2. Keep Your Students on Track

“Create checklists to keep your students organized so they aren’t coming to you days (or hours) before important deadlines!”

— Erin Goodnow, founder and CEO of Going Ivy

3. When Overwhelmed, Do Something Simple but Productive

“When I’m drained, I clean! It’s productive, beneficial and it helps take my mind off what’s sometimes seemingly endless piles of work. You can also try meal prepping, exercising, attending to emails, or returning voice messages. It helps to figure out what’s a ‘tackle-able’ item and knock that out, then get back to the bigger stuff.”

— Jane Scudder, certified personal development, leadership and career coach

4. Take a Break

“It can be tough to take a break when you’re in peak season, but try ‘short vacations’—an hour when you step away from your computer and your phone and take a nap, read a book or go for a walk. Even just an hour or two to yourself can clear your head and leave you better able to work. A half day off can work miracles. A long weekend might seem like manna from heaven when you really need a time-out. A break doesn’t have to take very long. Sometimes it’s mostly a symbolic statement that you deserve time for yourself too.”

— Will Meyerhofer, psychotherapist at A Quiet Room

5. Set a Timer, Then Get Back to Work

“A lot of clients tell me There’s just too much to do! I can’t stop!’ I struggle with this too, but the fact of the matter is when you’re overwhelmed and working, you might be busy but you’re not working to your full capacity. This is the idea of working smarter not harder. Sometimes the smartest thing to do is stop for 30 minutes (time it!), then get back to work.”

— Jane Scudder, certified personal development, leadership and career coach

6. Set Boundaries for Your Time

“Stick to your schedule. I know it may be tempting to ‘take a quick peek’ at email on a Saturday morning when you have a free minute, but that can give students the impression you’ll always be checking email at that time from now on.”

— Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., author of College Counseling for School Counselors

7. Bond with a Colleague—or Someone Adorable

“At home, I keep myself busy with my kids and pets. Children and animals are very therapeutic as they remind you to live in the moment and see joy in the little things! I also think it is very important to cultivate good relationships with your colleagues—being able to vent or share a joke with each other can go a long way in not getting overly stressed.”

— Wendy Bordeau, school counselor at Franklin High School in Somerset, N.J. and member of the New Jersey School Counselor Association

8. Be Mindful of Your Physical and Mental Health Outside the Office

“Try to get an adequate amount of sleep, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet. Spend time with loved ones and allow time for fun!”

— Dana Kurilew, president of the New Jersey School Counselor Association

During the fast-paced college application season, it’s easy for counselors to get just as overwhelmed as their students. Taking a break and practicing some self-care will help you prevent burnout during this stressful time.

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