Earning a degree is hard. Massive reading assignments, endless lectures, pop quizzes, paper deadlines and late-night study sessions all take their toll and can leave us feeling stressed, disconnected and exhausted. While some angst is to be expected, prolonged stress that leads to burnout can have a devastating impact on your studies, and your life. To stay on top of the game, learn to recognize the symptoms of burnout and take immediate steps to combat it.
Symptoms of Burnout
Statistics show that approximately 30% more students are seeking counseling services on campus for their mental health symptoms. Classic mental health symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and isolation, are often signs of burnout. Symptoms can also include:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Heart palpitations
- Increased illness
- Loss of enjoyment
- Feelings of detachment
- Poor performance
- Feelings of apathy
If you “just can’t” all the time, or if you’re experiencing physical or emotional exhaustion, cynicism or feelings of ineffectiveness, you may be experiencing burnout. While it may sounds like a temporary problem, burnout is actually a serious condition that can disrupt your education. If you’re experiencing any combination of these symptoms, schedule an appointment to speak with your university counselor without delay.
Causes of Burnout
The causes of burnout are all over the map but they can be classified into one of three categories: frenetic, underchallenged and worn-out.
- Frenetic burnout occurs when you’re swamped with schoolwork and don’t have a chance to recharge.
- Underchallenged burnout can occur if you’re not challenged by your classes, or if your homework is unstimulating or monotonous.
- Worn-out burnout is the result of a huge expenditure of energy that produces little reward.
Cures for Burnout
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to combat burnout. Get a good night’s sleep or take a few minutes to enjoy something you love. Eat a balanced, healthy diet and set aside time to exercise. Learn to practice mindfulness, or the act of allowing yourself to simply be in the moment. If self-care doesn’t alleviate your symptoms, seek support from a friend, family member or counselor.
Burnout can leave you feeling unmotivated, frustrated and tired. It can zap your creativity and focus, and if left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on your academic efforts. Don’t let it. Take steps to alleviate burnout as soon as you start experiencing symptoms to avoid bigger issues later.