How to cope with academic burnout? Symptoms, Causes & Solutions

Picture this – You wake up and want to get to your class but there is a heavy feeling in your chest, and you are unable to get up and do the simplest task of getting ready. This constant feeling of not wanting to do things because of all those lingering thoughts and the inability to cope with your daily life causes stress. Stress and burnout syndrome are caused by constant emotional and physical weariness. This condition affects the personal and professional accomplishments of individuals.

To address this problem, it is necessary to understand the 3 Rs – Recognize, Reverse & Resilience. Before one can get into the self-analysis mode it is important to understand what academic burnout looks like.

What are the symptoms though?

  • Ignoring other areas of your life.
  • Mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion
  • Physical stresses such as headaches, stomach aches, heartburn, or muscle aches.
  • Lack of concentration and inability to focus.
  • Increased irritability and anger.
  • Being overly critical and doubting previous goals and relationships.
  • Lack of interest in social and extracurricular activities.
  • Bored in daily activities.

Some of the common symptoms of burnout include a general feeling of being unable to keep up. With the academic work piling up it is almost difficult for anyone to get up and get going with their daily life. If left unmanaged, academic burnout can lead to severe depression, physical illnesses, and dropping out of college. It is important to spot academic burnout as quickly as possible and address the issue. With the surge of information available regarding this issue and knowing the pattern of the symptoms yet leading it to the causes is what needs to stop. Even then, the real question is –

 What causes Academic burnout?

  • Increased workload
  • Financial stresses
  • Moving out of your home
  • Choosing the wrong scope of studies in college.
  • Lower grades than usual.
  • Continuous competition with peers.
  • Struggling to make new friends. 

One should also keep in mind that academic burnout can differ from student to student. While some students procrastinate and skip classes, others hyperfocus on their performance, leading to overworking and pulling consecutive all-nighters. However, no matter the time and effort you put into your studies, one thing is for sure – student burnout can leave you mentally, emotionally, and physically drained, which eventually impacts your academic performance. Amidst all the distress one faces and the influx of emotions.

If you have made it till the end of this read – here is where you will know more about how to perform a self-analysis of the situation – The 3 Rs: Recognize, Reverse & Resilience!

Recognize: if you have identified any of the above-mentioned symptoms, do not worry. The first step is already taken care of! The sooner you realize you are burning out the easier it is to recover.

Reverse: once you have recognized the symptoms it is vital to seek help from the right and licensed sources. Take breaks and meditate to be able to focus on your work. Spend time focusing on things that you are most passionate about and take one step at a time.

Build Resilience: Be grateful for what you have and stop feeling guilty about what you don’t. Socialize with individuals who bring out the best in you rather than the ones who gaslight or make you feel even worse. Start recording your activities in a journal or any electronic medium you are comfortable with and re-read your accomplishments on a dull day to create momentum.

Surround yourself with people who follow a healthy routine and prove to be effective individuals. Of course, academics are important. Although, being productive is nearly impossible when you’re burned out. Do make sure to prioritize your health, relationships, and overall well-being until you fully recover from academic burnout.


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