Have you been feeling more irritable and exhausted lately? Has your motivation taken a turn for the worse so that you’re less creative and inspired regarding your school work? If the answer to these questions is yes, you are likely experiencing academic burnout. Fear not because this is sometimes common since student life can be challenging. Keep reading as we explain how to avoid study burnout and ways to identify its symptoms.
What is Academic Burnout?
Academic burnout refers to the negative mental, physical, and emotional reaction caused by prolonged study. This condition typically results in a lack of motivation, frustration, exhaustion, and reduced ability to complete coursework in school. It can occur due to working on or studying the same school project for several months or weeks, and even just from continually going to school for years.
Note that it’s essential not to confuse academic burnout with the occasional frustrated feelings you harbor after pulling an all-nighter or studying for hours on end. Instead, this is a chronic condition caused by long-term school work and study. You may not be able to understand that you’re going through burnout but, if your loved ones keep telling you that you’ve become irritable or seem lost, it may be an unfortunate case of academic burnout.
What are the Symptoms of Academic Burnout?
Let’s delve into some effects of academic burnout so you can determine whether you’re experiencing it:
Loss of Interest
One classic burnout sign is a loss of interest in things that you previously cared about and loved. Perhaps you used to look forward to your morning creative writing class but now have to drag yourself out of bed to attend. You’re likely burnt out if you also feel disengaged during the lectures.
Students who experience academic burnout always feel tired, no matter how much sleep they get. You may feel like you have nothing left to give, be it in the form of mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion.
Your body may be trying to warn you it feels burned out in the case that you are getting ill more regularly than usual. Burnout can manifest in physical symptoms, such as developing rashes or hives, having digestive issues, or continually getting colds. Still, these symptoms can also be a sign of other health problems, so ensure you seek medical help when necessary and keep an eye on your symptoms.
Depression or Anxiety
Whether your existing mental health issues are getting worse or you’re dealing with depression or anxiety for the first time, the underlying cause can point to burnout. Are you losing interest in your hobbies or suddenly feeling anxious around people or in class? Such signs are either related to academic burnout or the start of a mental episode that might require professional attention immediately.
Lack of Creativity
Lack of creativity often appears as being unable to complete tasks that were fairly easy to do before, particularly those that demand imagination or original ideas. Look out for symptoms of dissatisfaction or procrastination towards the work you’ve produced or are engaged in.
It’s natural to feel irritable when you have difficulty focusing or effectively engaging with course topics and peers. You might feel critical of your academic performance or disappointed in yourself, which leads to getting annoyed or angry quickly and at the smallest of things.
Dealing with Burnout: Why You are Burnt Out from Studying?
In this section, we’ll consider the causes of academic burnout:
As social media has taken the world by storm, most students stay up during the night to scroll through Instagram or TikTok and don’t get enough sleep before school. There has also been an increase in the consumption of processed junk food due to its easy availability through online ordering and delivery services. Factors such as lack of exercise, an imbalanced diet, and a disturbed sleep cycle contribute to decreased academic productivity and enhanced lethargy, resulting in burnout.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you take control of your physical activity and sleeping and eating routine so that you can study and perform well.
Online Teaching and Learning
With the switch from in-person to remote learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has struggled to adjust to this significant transition. As more and more educational institutions integrate some form of online learning, many students find it challenging to keep up with the constant curriculum changes.
Additionally, reduced face-to-face interactions make individuals feel isolated, distracted, demotivated, and inattentive. When you can’t meet your friends and enjoy the fun and benefits of physically attending school, you are much more likely to experience academic burnout.
Poor Time Management Skills
Often, students spend hours studying, but the results are just subpar compared to their efforts. This may mean that the way you’ve been allotting study time across various subjects may need some rework. Make changes in your study schedule to be more productive, such as covering more material in less time. If you’re unsure how to formulate a better timetable, ask your school counselor, parents, or teachers for help.
Teacher or Parent Pressure
Your parents or teachers may be demanding a lot from you regarding your academic performance. Sure, they mean well, but these demands can result in children missing out on essential recreational activities, such as practicing a hobby or playing a sport. Spending all your time with your nose buried in books and studies prevents you from de-stressing and increases the possibility of academic burnout.
For this reason, teachers and parents should have realistic expectations from their students and children respectively, ensuring they never impose anything on them.
5 Tips to Reduce Burnout from Studying and Avoid Stress
Here’s how to recover from study burnout and some strategies to avoid exhaustion:
Focus on Socializing More
When you’re feeling burnt out, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with your friends and plan activities together. Additionally, go out with your family more to gatherings. Having fun and connecting with your loved ones is a great way to share your worries and relieve stress. They’re bound to listen to you and help however they can. Reduce some of the burden you’ve been carrying on your shoulders by occasionally venting to the ones who care about you.
Make a Schedule
You can also prevent burnout by making a solid schedule. Make a list of your day’s activities every morning, but ensure these goals are realistic. This way, you can determine the resources you already have to complete tasks and what additional ones you require. Once the day is over, cross out the activities and tasks you’ve completed, as you’re more likely to feel accomplished and motivated for the next day’s work.
If you plan how to accomplish your work at school and home, you’ll feel more attentive and succeed in avoiding procrastination.
Identify Your Stressors
It’s important to reflect on what your stressors are and how they affect you. Consider sitting alone in a quiet place and making three columns on a paper. Jot down everything that makes you feel anxious, stressed, uneasy, and worried in the first column. The second column should detail how these stressors impact your behavior and health. And in the third column, write down methods for reducing the stressors’ effect on you. After all, no one knows you better than yourself, so think about things that calm you down and make you happy.
Perhaps you’re avoiding multiple engagements because they are all around the same time, be it a family lunch, an extracurricular, a birthday party, or an online class. As a student, it’s your responsibility to find a balance between your social and academic life, which can be achieved by prioritizing activities accordingly. Choose who and what to engage with by evaluating what is urgent and important.
Incorporate Healthy Habits
The best way to protect both your physical and mental health is by staying active, drinking adequate water, and eating healthy. Not only does this help enhance concentration and boost energy levels, but it also relaxes the body and mind. Teenagers need at least 10-8 hours of sleep to function properly, while young adults require 9-7 sleep hours. A healthy sleep schedule is key to increasing productivity and staying in a good mood, both of which help prevent academic burnout.
Overcoming with Study Burnout: 7 Ways
There are certain ways that you can overcome your college burnout symptoms, so let’s look at what they are:
- Sleep at least 9-7 hours daily
- Set reasonable goals
- Drink water and eat healthy
- Take walks and go outside whenever possible
- Avoid procrastination by trying to stick to deadlines
- Take a vacation every once in a while
- Make time for recreational activities throughout the week
Wrapping Things Up: How to Avoid Study Burnout?
You can reverse the effects of academic burnout by listening to your body and thoughts to understand the signs of stress. Identify your stressors and come up with ways to keep them at bay. And if you’re struggling with managing various commitments together, take a step back and learn to let go. Reaching out and leaning on your loved ones is another way of managing your symptoms and ultimately getting rid of them. Remember that you are not alone and that burnout is a treatable condition.