Stress is an unavoidable reality of life. But too much of it can lead to serious consequences, especially if you’re in college. If you’re feeling less motivated than usual, easily get exhausted, or are less inspired to complete any of your schoolwork, you may be having academic burnout.
According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), there was a 30% increase in the number of college students seeking counseling between 2014 and 2015. Sixty-one percent of college students being surveyed cited anxiety as the key factor to seeking counseling. Too much stress triggers anxiety, which very quickly results in burnout.
The first step to overcoming academic burnout is to recognize and acknowledge the condition. From there, you need to commit to changing some of your habits. Below are some tips to overcoming burnout and how to prevent it from happening again.
What Is Burnout?
According to David Ballard of the APA, job burnout is “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”
Technically, students aren’t workers but from a psychological perspective, bachelor studies are composed of structured events that include school attendance, assignments, and exams, all of which can be considered as “work”. While one can experience stress without burning out, too much of it can take a toll on your academic life, social life, and overall health and well-being.
Some telltale signs of academic burnout to look out for include:
- Insomnia or a constant feeling of exhaustion despite getting plenty of rest and sleep
- Getting sick more often with flu, stomach pain, colds, etc.
- Frequent headaches, migraine, or dizzy spells
- Stress-eating and overthinking
- An overall feeling of numbness even from constant working or thinking
- Feeling listless or bored in things or activities you used to enjoy
- Inability to concentrate during leisure activities like watching movies, listening to music, reading, etc.
- Feeling sensitive over small issues like comments or criticisms from other people
- Making careless mistakes that you normally wouldn’t make
- Irritability caused by frustration/pressure
- Less participation in classroom discussions and group projects
- Lack of confidence and motivation, and feeling incapable to keep deadlines
7 Ways to Overcome and Prevent Academic Burnout
#1 Identify the Reason
Intrinsic motivation, or the act of doing something without expecting any external reward, has been proven to lower levels of burnout and in turn, improve one’s academic performance. The idea here is that learning should be naturally satisfying and that you’re doing it simply because it’s interesting and enjoyable.
In order to prevent burnout, you need to know the reason why you’re in college in the first place. Building intrinsic motivation should start by identifying skills you need to develop or improve on, as well as the experiences you want to have as a college student.
#2 Time Management and Organization
Another proven and tested way to curb burnout is to keep up with your homework and projects in a timely manner, and preparing for exams in advance.
Manage your schedule and deadlines effectively by using a calendar, an app, or a tool that will help you keep track of priorities and responsibilities. Organizing tasks and setting goals also help avoid procrastination.
#3 Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
If you feel you can’t overcome or prevent academic burnout on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help from others. Just like any other aspect of mental health, venting your frustrations and talking through issues with a friend, family, or a professional can go a long way into helping you beat burnout and stay motivated.
Meanwhile, if you’re already burnt out and feeling stuck with schoolwork and projects, you can get professional help from custom essay services online. For instance, websites like IHateWritingEssays can help you find a reliable service, one that will give you time to refresh your mind and be more prepared to tackle your next assignment.
#4 Break Down Your Responsibilities
Instead of taking on long-term goals and massive projects in one go, break them down into smaller, more achievable benchmarks. This way, you can avoid the stress that often comes with last-minute projects and pulling all-nighters. Breaking down responsibilities also allows you to feel good about your achievement before moving on to the next phase of a project or task.
#5 Take A Break from Social Media
The looming presence of the Internet and social media, where you constantly see updates in your and other people’s lives, can often add a sense of overstimulation that may be overwhelming to some. If you feel it’s adding to your stress, consider taking a break, and this doesn’t just mean taking a day off from studies and putting your books aside.
Disconnecting and “going in the dark” from social media is recommended not just for students, but for professionals as well. Turn off your smartphone and log out of your social media accounts an hour before going to bed. When you’re swamped with homework or preparing for a big exam, consider temporarily deactivating your social media accounts.
Too much information can leave you ragged, not to mention the light screens in your phone, tablet, laptop, or other devices can greatly disrupt your circadian rhythm and render you unable to rest or sleep through the night. Tuning out distractions may well be the best way to overcoming academic burnout.
#6 Meet Needs That Satisfy You Physically, Emotionally, and Mentally
Self-care is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. Taking a moment to pamper yourself after a hectic day or week can help overcome stress and burnout. Doing so allows you to find the things that make you feel better, ones that you can use to keep burnout at bay.
For example, you can clean your room to satisfy your physical need to stay clean, and the sense of accomplishment after completing the task can, in turn, satisfy your emotional and mental needs.
#7 Always Keep the Endgame in Mind
Some parts of college life are inevitably challenging and stressful. But at the end of that bumpy road, graduation remains beneficial from an economic standpoint. What’s more, the knowledge and skills you’ll have gained along the way have lasting and wide-ranging benefits that could boost your personal and professional growth, as well as your self-esteem.
Sure, college can be a huge commitment, but the rewards are plentiful and within your reach.
Experiencing burnout while in college doesn’t mean you’re an underachiever or a quitter. Stress and academic burnout are real, oftentimes unavoidable, and can happen to virtually anyone, including those with can-do attitudes who try to go above and beyond. By following the tips above, you can overcome burnout and feel better in no time!