We can bet you’ve heard about creative, parental, professional, caregiving, or relationship burnout. Perhaps, you even might have experienced anything like that.
Does studying seem to be off-putting for you lately? Are you less inspired about your schoolwork? Most likely, you start feeling college burnout.
Want to know how to deal with it quickly and get back with renewed vigor? Be prepared to jot down all burnout signs and 6 effective ways to prevent it! We provided the best of them below.
What Is College Burnout?
The World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t recognize burnout as a mental disorder or medical condition. Rather, it’s a state of prolonged emotional and physical exhaustion. And it’s especially common for today’s college students.
Although student life is an exciting and rewarding period with endless opportunities, it can be quite difficult for many people. You can be snowed under with assignments, studying may demand much energy, and all these challenges will add anxiety and stress.
According to the National College Health Assessment of 2019, about 40% of US students were so depressed and exhausted that they couldn’t function as usual. These statistics support the thought that Millenials and Gen Z are burnout generations. And college burnout is such a wide-spread phenomenon that it is almost considered to be something ordinary.
However, it is not the norm!
Here’s how some college students describe their actions and feelings while burnout:
- “I’ve been just staring at the books for hours. I couldn’t read, literally. My brain was frozen to read or memorize anything.”
- “I was so tired and exhausted that I had some energy for either learning or eating.”
- “I didn’t know whether it’s a mental issue or just idleness. But this feeling of burning out was addictive. Most days, I felt I just had been wasting time.”
College burnout is a negative mental or physical reaction to study-related stress caused by the amount of work and energy demanded. It can seriously affect not only your academic success but also your health and post-college life. So, it’s necessary to prevent it early or find ways of quitting from the state of this personal collapse.
What Are the Reasons for College Burnout?
Start feeling less enthusiastic about studying? Such a negative reaction is the result of chronic stress. It shouldn’t be confused with the occasional tiredness from exams or frustration from pulling an all-nighter. It is more of a long-term syndrome.
Besides, burnout and stress are not the same things. Burnout is not just fatigue or struggling with obstacles. It’s about a deep sense of hopelessness and being run out of steam.
College burnout can be caused by:
- Homework overload
- Continuous work with the same material or project
- Lack of sleep
- Problems with professors
- Lack of motivation
- Obscure employment perspectives
- Not fair assessment
- Financial issues
- Poor time management
- Setting and eventual failure of unrealistic goals
- Relationship issues
And now, the pandemic is another challenge for students. It changed the lifestyle and added the fear of uncertainty. Besides, the Covid-19 outbreak has modified the way we study. Distant learning, e-communication, and increased isolation is not everyone’s cup of tea.
It’s a real challenge for students, with so many college tasks to do and teachers with high expectations of for students’ achievement. How to cope with all these problems and prevent burnout? We’ll discuss it below.
How to Recognize College Burnout Early?
Self-awareness is the key to preventing burnout. Being aware of the symptoms will help you control and avoid this chronic college-related stress. Also, you can detect and cope with the signs you may currently suffer from.
You Experience Issues with Focusing
Prolonged stress in college can cause forgetfulness, lack of concentration, problems with decision-making, and emotional control issues. Burnout has a negative effect on brain functioning. That’s why you may make minor mistakes frequently, forget some things, and experience difficulties in learning new material.
Your Academic Performance Is Getting Worse
Perhaps, you can’t focus on your college study and feel no motivation to attend classes. You have to force yourself to start the assignment. You’re no longer inspired to participate in the discussions and don’t care about new projects. As a result, you may start getting lower grades and, eventually, experience a sense of failure.
You Start Noticing Some Health Issues
Burnout is reflected in appetite changes, the tension in your body, and headaches for no apparent reason. Your immune system may even become weaker.
Other symptoms are:
- Developing harmful habits
- Lack of motivation
- Missed deadlines
- The feeling of detachment from academic life
- Unwillingness to keep on the studying
- Loss of confidence in your abilities
- Being negative towards student responsibilities
- Reduced performance in school
- Avoidance of socialization
Does something sound familiar? Read on and learn how to prevent burnout.
What Are 6 Ways to Prevent College Burnout?
Remember that no one is safe from academic burnout. But this state is preventable, diagnosable, treatable. You just should follow the right steps.
It’s important for you to learn how to say no, step back, relax, and don’t bite more than you can chew. It’s time to set your own boundaries to stay out of overwhelming pressure, troubles, stress, and burnout. It shouldn’t be a part of your college and personal life.
To prevent burnout in college, consider these recommendations.
Say “No” in Time
A simple, one-syllable word “no” is extremely difficult to say to new opportunities and challenges. Modern lifestyle trends promote being everywhere at once, juggling many tasks. Young people strive to impress others by showing they can do a lot of things simultaneously.
But remember: when you read a new post of your favorite Instagram blogger, where they smile and describe their “ordinary” day consisting of cooking, parenting, work, meetings, sewing courses, reading, Python classes, their own brand development — whatever — their exhaustion is actually read between the lines. And don’t be charmed by this smiley pic.
Give up this illusion of looking extra productive by grabbing more than you can do. Reduce work whenever possible. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Take the challenges but set up the limitations. And don’t be shy to say “no” to other’s requests you really can’t meet and projects you can’t fulfill.
Ask for Help
Hard work and self-reliance are admirable. But if you don’t feel like you’ll manage to cope with everything, asking for help is quite beneficial. Don’t go through your challenges alone.
Stuck with difficult assignments? Ask group mates. Can’t juggle studying and sports? Discuss your college load with professors and define the most appropriate strategies. Need advice and support? Talk with friends and family members or access help from a professional.
It’s simple as that — if you’re tired, take a rest. Don’t push yourself over the edge. Yes, there are many things to do and learn, but will your tiredness contribute to productivity? Surely, no.
Regular breaks, even short ones, improve your memory, prevent stress, and refresh your mind. And rest is not only about weekends, it’s an essential component of studying smart! Take time for your hobbies or things you like whenever you want. Also, sports, getting outside, shopping, games, cooking, pet therapy — any activity you find joyful will do any good.
Give Yourself a Pat on the Back
It’s time to stop and evaluate what you’ve achieved so far. Take a look at your academic performance, recall the success you’ve accomplished. You’ve already done a good job, haven’t you? Give yourself some credit. Be proud of yourself for any great moments. What about successful college enrollment, to begin with?
Spend valuable time on meetings with close friends and family members. Getting positive support from your social environment is a necessity. It will give your mind a break, prevent self-reflection, and add confidence.
Improve Time Management
Try to give up procrastination and postponing work to the last moment. This way, you’ll end up with 1 night for 10 tasks. Do your best to meet college deadlines — it will contribute to interpersonal harmony, easy studying, and good relationships with professors.
How to do it? Distribute your college coursework evenly, do large assignments by parts, follow the schedule. And try to find a perfect work-life balance.
10 Bonus Tips on College Burnout Prevention
- Set reasonable goals and use daily reminders or planners
- Avoid procrastination, meet deadlines
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Develop healthy eating habits
- Don’t forget about physical activity
- Take a vacation once in a while
- Choose a flexible schedule
- Change study settings
- Get rid of unpleasant obligations if possible
- Keep the passion for what you’re doing or learning
Burnout in college can seriously affect your life. As a student, you should take control and care of your health. Recognize the signs of burnout and follow the right steps to prevent it. It’s OK to seek support and help if you really need them. Overall, positive well-being and enthusiasm are key to making the most of your college years!