How to Prevent Academic Burnout

Dread going to class everyday? Feeling less inspired and more irritable all the time? Want to quit school and just be a bum for the rest of your life? It’s perfectly normal to get overwhelmed at times — but if it is affecting your overall wellbeing, you may be experiencing academic burnout.

Burnout is not to be confused with occasional feelings of frustration that comes with pulling an all-nighter or not meeting a deadline. This chronic condition is unlikely to be caused by a single event, but rather a combination of stressors for a prolonged period of time. You could be feeling a lot of pressure from your academic load, finances, family, and friendships.

Aside from suffering grades, the effects of burnout carry over into every aspect of your life and could lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue, lack of focus, and loss of confidence. Bad habits can also manifest, like overeating, oversleeping, drinking, and staying up late at night. Here are some things you can do to reduce or prevent burnout — so you can enjoy university life once again.

Recognize you have a problem.

Acknowledging that you are experiencing burnout, followed by a serious commitment to change your current situation, is already half the battle won. Additionally, taking responsibility for your role in it will stop you from moping and prompt you to take action.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparison is the thief of joy. If you keep on comparing your grades to other students, you’ll just be putting yourself under a lot of pressure. Not meeting a particular grade doesn’t make you a failure.

Make time for the things you enjoy doing.

Do activities that detach yourself from the source of your stress, such as reading fiction, cooking a favourite dish, or going for a quick run. By making more room for the things that bring you joy, you get away from the very thing that’s causing you so much stress.

Spend time outdoors.

Being cooped up inside your Ontario Tech University housing 24/7 (or any other indoor environment, for that matter) isn’t the best for your mental health. Make sure to get lots of sunshine and exercise. The good news is that there are plenty of scenic trails right in your backyard. You can take a walk to the Durham Region Waterfront Trail and see Lake Ontario’s marshes, forests, and wildlife. You can bring along your pup in the Harmony Valley Dog Park, or bike your way through the Joseph Kolodzie Oshawa Creek Bike Path.

Make changes to your current situation.

You may have taken on a lot of commitments this semester. If you’re balancing a heavy course load, a part-time job, a volunteer program, and an internship, you may need to scale back on your activities to lighten your load. You’ll have to prioritise and learn to say “no” to less important extracurricular activities.

Seek professional help.

Reach out to your support system, and talk to a mental health professional. This distress flowchart from Ontario Tech University will help you determine the right course of action. The campus offers a range of support to help you overcome life’s challenges. You can browse self-help resources, book an intake session, join group workshops, or work with a mental health counsellor.

Following these tips will help you overcome and avoid student burnout in the future. During these challenging times, you can count on 17Hundred to help you become healthy and happy again.