Why College Student Burnout Is Real — And How to Avoid It

Ginger Abbot

Mar 20, 2020
stressed out student burnout

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed and anxious beyond belief? You can’t bear the thought of yet another assignment or textbook chapter. You dread the walk to class. If so, these emotions may hint at a case of burnout. College students are especially prone to this, and it’s essential to recognize the signs so you can tackle it head-on. 

Here are a few ways you can avoid and recover from burnout.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a particular type of stress related to work or student life. Mainly, burnouts happen when you haven’t managed certain tension properly. Everything from strict deadlines to difficult classes can contribute to these emotions. Maybe you feel too much pressure or you feel like you’re isolated from others. As a result, you become physically and emotionally exhausted. You start to hate your classes and no longer find joy in your major.

Symptoms of burnout include alienation from activities and reduced performance. You may also endure physical signs, like headaches. If you find that you’ve distanced yourself from friends and you can’t get your work done, burnout may be the cause.

These aspects of dread and cynicism are major indicators of burnout. But you’re not alone in this — two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout. Because college is your primary job, you’re prone to this as well. Luckily, there are ways to recover from burnout. Take a look.

How to Avoid Burnout

If you’re wondering how to avoid burnout, take a look at these tips.

Develop a Schedule

The best way to ensure schoolwork doesn’t overwhelm you is to create a schedule. Look at your syllabus each week and write down what needs to get done. Then, stick to it. Study and complete assignments on time to save yourself some stress. Time management skills are essential for success in college.

Have a Creative Outlet

avoid college student burnout by finding a creative outlet

Sometimes, you’ll have courses that feel monotonous or don’t resonate with your interests — even though you need the credits for your degree. To deal with this, you need to have a few outlets outside your studies. Paint a canvas, snap some pictures or write in a journal. Whatever your solution may be, ensure that it stimulates the creative parts of your mind

Be Kind to Yourself

Even the most successful people are too hard on themselves. Yet that gets you nowhere. Do your best to talk to yourself in a kind manner. Tell others that you’re proud of them when they achieve a goal. Replace negative emotions with positive thoughts and strive for a healthy balance.

Every college student struggles at some point throughout their years in school. Make the most of it through these meaningful actions.

How to Recover From Burnout

Luckily, this isn’t a permanent condition. With the right steps, you can manage your stress and learn how to recover from burnout.

Eat Well and Exercise

If you feel tired and troubled, it may be time to introduce healthier habits. Physical activity allows participants to feel more calm and relaxed mentally. On a similar note, foods that boost levels of serotonin and reduce blood pressure are helpful. Try a dinner of whole-grain pasta or salmon for a much-needed kick. 

how to recover from burnout by exercising

Take a Break

Remember, it’s still crucial to stay in school. While full-time employees may find solace in new jobs, students can’t up and leave without some serious thought. Therefore, you should take breaks as often as you can. Hang out with friends or take a trip home to clear your mind. When you get back to the books, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle your work.

Speak to Your Professor

College students sometimes forget that professors aren’t only there to teach. They’ve been educators for years, so it’s more than likely they’ve experienced burnout themselves. Schedule a time to talk with them and discuss your issues. They can provide resources and support. This way, you can get back on track and succeed in their class. 

In this state, it’s easy to feel like there’s no end. However, with these simple tricks, you can recover and move forward. If you ever feel like your burnout has turned into depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Don’t Let Burnout Get You Down

beat college student burnout

College student burnout is a genuine issue. Many endure it, but most don’t know how to avoid or prevent it. Take this advice into consideration so you can stay productive and motivated every semester.

Looking for more insights on avoiding burnout in college and life? Crack open these resources from our reading list:

Stress Relief for the Anxious Mind: Practical Advice to De-Stress Your Life in 5 Minutes a Day (Amazon) by Lauren Ryan and Kate Lessard

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation (Amazon) by Anne Helen Peterson

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