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What Students Need To Know About Burnout (And How to Avoid It)

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In a school setting, students are generally required to submit assignments on time, participate in class, collaborate well with others, and engage in extracurriculars.

Sometimes, they even get a job to pay for school or earn extra money.

While this lifestyle has its benefits, pupils can quickly become overwhelmed from having too much on their plate, leading to academic burnout. 

What Is Burnout?

Academic burnout is a common condition that refers to negative emotional, physical, and mental responses to prolonged studying. It can lead to exhaustion, frustration, no motivation, and a reduced ability to engage in school or social activities. 

It often occurs from hours, weeks, or months studying vigorous and time-consuming concepts.

Though it’s normal to feel tired after a cram session or frustrated from trying to learn a difficult subject, burnout is a more serious condition.

Its symptoms might include physical pain, insomnia, depression, and anxiety, but the effects of long-lasting burnout may be more serious and difficult to reverse. 

The Effects of Burnout

If taking breaks and spending time away from the books isn’t curing your academic frustrations, you may have burnout.

Without the motivation to attend class or put forth effort into assignments, it could result in an inability to meet deadlines and concentrate on work or lectures.

Disinterest in school can even cause a student to be bored in other social events or leisurely activities.

If exhaustion persists with a few hours of sleep each night, the body may become tense and stressed.

This could lead to headaches, muscle aches, jaw tension, and coping mechanisms such as overeating, staying up too late, or other nervous habits. 

How to Prevent Burnout

Before the problem becomes severe, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of burnout and address how your mind and body respond to academic stress. 

e aware of the red flags and anticipate the course load before it becomes too much. Use the following strategies to avoid burnout:

1. Get enough sleep.

Studies show that getting a full night of rest after a study period can impact your ability to retain information.

If you have trouble falling asleep because of nervousness about the next day, consider trying some relaxing techniques.

These include unplugging your devices, taking some melatonin, listening to a meditation, or practicing another calming ritual that will help you reset for the morning. 

2. Learn when to say “no”.

As the semester progresses, it can be difficult to delegate certain tasks within your schedule and still leave room for work and social activities.

When responsibilities become too hefty or overwhelming, try to balance obligations and set boundaries and limitations. 

3. Develop a weekly schedule.

Whether it’s investing in a planner or printing the syllabus, be proactive with your day and strengthen time management skills.

With social media causing distractions and preventing adequate learning time, consider incorporating breaks and dedicated study hours into your schedule. 

4. Treat virtual schooling as you would in-person learning.

Remember that although many courses have taken a virtual route, they still require time management. Procrastination can be a real problem regardless of how attendance is monitored.

However, avoid spending too much time focused on a screen and take breaks when possible. 

5. Prioritize your mental health.

When a busy schedule gets overwhelming, it could take a toll on one’s mental health. If depression is forming a cloud over you, seek help.

Contact a guidance counselor through your academic institution.

Alternatively, there are a few resources online that can pair you with a professional.

Balancing Schoolwork and Other Responsibilities

Though it can be difficult to commit to social engagements, put forth a satisfactory amount of time into schoolwork, and maintain responsibilities, finding a balance is crucial for students.

Without proper structure or emphasis on getting the most out of higher education, whether it’s on-campus or virtually, a pupil may be in danger of experiencing academic burnout.

With lasting effects on physical and mental health, burnout is a condition that can be prevented and treated with time and care. 

Author bio: Dr. Tamika Haynes is CEO, operator, and founder of Scholars Professional Editing Group LLC, managing high-level teams while collaborating cross-functionally in the continued pursuit of building a vision for success. As a seasoned mentor, Dr. Haynes understands the inescapable challenges, rigor, and intricacies of the endless cycle of revisions, committee changes, ambiguous feedback, increasing student loan debt, and countless sleepless nights while managing the demands of life, family, and work. Out of the core of her frustrations and challenges, Dr. Haynes birthed a passionate mission to assist and fully equip doctoral candidates with knowledge on how to write a scholarly dissertation and navigate to the finish line successfully.

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