How to Deal With Academic Burnout

  • Simran Rastogi
    Simran Rastogi

What is Academic Burnout?

Burnout can simply be defined as a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. There may exist ample reasons for this kind of exhaustion. Any kind of prolonged stress, distress, unease, or pressure can be a reason for exhaustion or burnout. Academic burnout can be defined as exhaustion caused due to high academic expectations, demands, and requirements. Every student goes through academic burnout at least once in their life. Colleges, schools, teachers, parents, or even friends for that matter can sometimes be the indirect or direct reason for one’s burnout. Let us take three situations to understand how parents, teachers, or peer groups can be a reason for distress, unease, or exhaustion for the students.

Situation 1/ Parents- If a student manages to secure 85% marks in semester one then the parents will surely expect more than 85% marks from their child in the next semester. Not only this, parents would even try to mould the routine of their child a little in order to make him/her study better. Reducing their playtime or asking them to over-study can be some examples of the changed treatment by the parents. Situations and sudden changes like these will definitely have an impact on the students.

Situation 2/ Teachers- Teachers are well-wishers and the constant cheerleaders for their students. Their only motive is to see their students succeed and hence they keep pushing their limits. Although, certain actions of the teachers like giving examples of the bright students to the slow learners or constantly telling them to be like someone else can surely lead the students into some sort of distress.

Situation 3/ Peers- The people we spend our entire day with, directly or indirectly impact us and our behavior. Classmates can often affect each other mentally even when they don’t intend to. For example- If two friends spend almost the entire day together and one of them scores better, then as per the natural human behavior the other one will feel bad, insecure, or envious. This will not only make the child feel bad but distressed as well.

Now that we know what is academic burnout, let us understand the ways of identifying whether a person is facing academic burnout. Following are five symptoms of academic burnout.

Symptoms Of Academic Burnout

  • Excessive stress- If a student is experiencing extreme situations of stress and tension, then there are higher chances that the student is experiencing academic burnout.
  • Exhaustion and Fatigue- Constantly feeling low, zero will of taking initiatives, energy loss, or nap attacks may be the signs and symptoms of academic exhaustion too.
  • Insomnia- Insomnia is a sleeping disorder wherein a person is unable to sleep no matter how much they try. If a student is having sleepless nights, then there are high chances of them experiencing academic burnout.
  • Lack of concentration and creativity- If a student is not able to concentrate on whatever they do, there is a high risk of them being exhausted. Academic burnout can even lead to a lack of creativity. A student who is experiencing such situations should definitely consider it as a sign of academic burnout.
  • Emotional outbursts- Emotional outbursts are one of the best ways to identify if a person is experiencing burnout. Frequent mood swings and breakdowns are signs to look out for. If a person is having very frequent emotional breakdowns, they must consider it as a symptom of burnout.

Now we know how to identify whether a person is facing academic burnout, but how to help ourselves or others in such situations? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Here are three tips that will surely help anyone in dealing with academic burnout.

3 Tips To Deal With Academic Burnout

  • Make sure you take breaks-  Academic burnout comes directly from setups like a classroom, school, coaching, etc. If a student is facing academic burnout, they should surely take 3-4 days off from that particular setup. Taking breaks would not only help them recover but also help them analyze the whole situation better.
  • Get enough sleep- There’s nothing that a good sleep can’t fix. Any kind of  tension or distress reduces once we sleep it out. As a human being we tend to overthink on situations. We give attention, energy and time to things that we can let go. Sleeping definitely saves us from overthinking and hence taking a good sleep is highly recommended in situations like academic burnout.
  • Talk it out - Talking to friends, family, or professionals in extreme cases might help a lot. Sometimes all a person needs is a good listener who is non-judgemental and trustworthy. In situations of distress and academic burnout, talking to teachers or parents directly proves to be the best solution. It will not only make the student feel light but will also improve their relationship with the respective person.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”- Charles R. Swindoll

Happy Learning!