As students progress through the school year, burnout is something that may be lurking around the corner. Studying for hours, completing all your homework, and possibly managing a job can be a lot for a high school student- and burning out is bound to happen when pushing yourself that hard. In order to manage your work without crashing, it is important to understand what burnout is, and how you can veer around it or work through it in order to reach a stress-free state of mind.
Pushing yourself to meet excessive demands and expectations may allow burnout to come quicker and easier. Considering that it is an ever-progressing feeling, understanding that you may be reaching a breaking point can be a difficult task. Burnout can be paired with feelings such as stress, lack of motivation, pessimism, and exhaustion. Writer for HelpGuide expands on the progression of burnout (2022). “Burnout is a gradual process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up on you. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but become worse as time goes on.” (par. 5). Acknowledging these early feelings or symptoms is vital for handling burnout.
While it is important to look for the common symptoms of burnout, they should not be confused with stress- there is a fine line between the two. Stress can be characterized by an over hyperfixation on certain tasks, while burnout can look like disengagement from the work. Other stress-related feelings can include hyperactivity, overreactions, and loss of energy. Burnout can be considered as more of a “dull” or “pessimistic” feeling (Smith et al., 2022). Establishing that you are either stressed or burnt out will allow for easier control of yourself. Understanding these “warning signs” grants a path to reassessing your state of mind in order to prioritize your well being.
Along with finding the differences between stress and burnout, is actually preventing these excessive feelings of academic debility. One of the most impactful changes to a burnout free mindset is saying no. Handling many things such as volunteering, assignments, jobs, and clubs is a lot to juggle, and saying yes to every opportunity can be very intriguing but detrimental in the long run. Turning down “unnecessary” or “exorbitant” tasks may feel that you are damaging your future, but in reality, allowing yourself to breathe for a little allows you to prioritize and better manage your responsibilities (Carlton, 2022). Other things to consider are letting yourself have a little bit of fun. You should not trap yourself in your room for hours just doing homework; instead, take a break and talk to your friends or family members. Taking breaks, even if they are short, makes it harder to stress to build up so much.
Now that avoiding burnout has been covered, recovering from it is just as important. Taking the steps to avoid burnout can seem easy, but the results are not always assured. The first step that you can take to get over your academic burnout is to identify what you did wrong, and make the important changes. Taking that step and applying it to your everyday life means picking out feelings of stress and not placing them in your back pocket. Ignoring those feelings of stress is one of the main causes of burnout, so recognizing your feelings and acting upon them is very important. Writer for University of the People (2022) highlights the importance of applying simple activities into your daily routines. “Practice mindful breathing, eating, socializing. Try meditation breaks throughout the day as well.” (par. 5). Taking the time out of your day to practice simple, healthy habits will allow your recovery from such a detrimental state of mind much easier.
Considering all that was discussed, academic burnout is not an easy thing to overcome or face. While some of the recovery techniques and mechanisms may not work for everyone, giving yourself the opportunity to find what works for you will help you in the long run. Pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion is not a healthy habit, and while taking on many tasks may seem tempting, you should take the time to realize that it truly will not benefit your mentality. In the end, as a student you should always prioritize your work- but to an extent. Setting reasonable goals for yourself and not overworking allows for a much more productive and healthy lifestyle.
Carlton, G. (2022, August 31). How To Avoid Academic Burnout In College. TheBestSchools.org. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://thebestschools.org/magazine/how-to-avoid-burnout-in-college/
Khan, I. (2022). Academic Burnout: How to Prevent it and What to Do | UoPeople. University of the People. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/what-is-academic-burnout/
Smith, M., Segal, J., & Robinson, L. (2022). Burnout Prevention and Treatment. HelpGuide.org. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm