Student Burnout

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Student burned out

Student burnout is common among individuals. The pressure students endure can cause stress levels to soar to unhealthy levels. When this occurs, students can begin feeling sick more than usual, which makes them fall behind on coursework causing feelings of defeat and hopelessness.

Student Burnout: How and Why It Happens

As you start, you work harder than you've ever worked before because the motivation and energy to succeed is fresh. However, over time, just as the Energizer Bunny loses its energy, you'll also start to slow down. The next thing you know, you're procrastinating on your coursework because you're unmotivated and mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. You may even start taking incompletes for some of your assignments or classes because you just can't find the energy to do them.

An overwhelming amount of pressure causes student burnout. When you're in, you strive to do your best in all of your courses and that means completing all of your coursework to the best of your abilities. For many, this is in addition to other responsibilities such as work, family or extracurricular activities. Many students feel as though there are not enough hours in a day, so they begin to sleep and eat less and cut out social activities. All of these factors contribute to student burnout because they deprive a person of essential recovery time.

How to Avoid Burnout as a Student

It is possible to avoid student burnout with a few lifestyle adjustments.

Prioritize for Better Time Management

Prioritizing is the best way to avoid burnout. You won't waste time on unnecessary tasks, which will give you the ability to do the things you need to do as well as the things you want to do, such as hanging out with friends or visiting family.

Know Your Limitations

Knowing your limits is another way to avoid student burnout. There may be many things you would like to accomplish at one time, but sometimes, it's just not possible. You have to decide what is more important to you now and put everything else to the side until you have more time.

Schedule Time for Yourself

Time to yourself will allow you to release tension and bring your stress levels down so you can be more productive when you start working again. Designate times each day in which you meet a friend, exercise, or meditate. At first, you may feel guilty for not devoting "free time" to your studies, but without it, you'll end up burned out, which will be worse.

Strive for Your Excellence

While it's important to strive for excellence, you don't have to score perfectly on every exam, report or assignment to achieve success. Being too hard on yourself when you don't score an A or a B on an exam will only make you feel depressed and hopeless. Changing your perspective on your academic achievements will help you avoid student burnout. While you don't want to be overly critical, you also don't want to be laissez-faire. As long as you studied or worked hard and did the best you could do, you know that you've done the most perfect job you could do - and that is what matters most!

Recovering from Burnout

If you're already suffering from student burnout, you can use some of these tips on avoiding it to help you get back on track. However, recovering takes more work than preventing it.

Take a Break without Guilt

When you're burned out, you won't be able to do much work, so you might as well take the time to take care of yourself. Don't feel guilty about it because that will only hamper your recovery. Get away from your coursework as much as you can and bring yourself back to you.

Start Off Slow

Ease back into your coursework. Remember, you became burned out because you took on more than you could handle and you weren't taking care of yourself. Start on coursework you can handle while caring for yourself. As you accomplish your work, take on a little more. Always monitor how you are feeling and make sure you are balancing your responsibilities.

Talk to a Counselor

Depression or anxiety may be an additional cause of your burnout. Speak to a counselor to help you figure out the true root of your issues.

Burnout Is Real - Not an Excuse

Many people don't believe in student burnout. They think that students are being lazy. Burnout is real and it can cause a student to fail courses and drop out of school. It's an emotional, mental and physical problem, which needs attention from the sufferer and sometimes, a therapeutic professional. Providing struggling students with support and guidance will help them recover quickly and successfully so they can return to striving for their own excellence.

Student Burnout