how to deal with study burnout

Posted : February 25, 2014
Last Updated : February 25, 2014
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how to deal with study burnout

Do you notice an inability to absorb more information after hours of studying? Do you have a hard time concentrating on your studies for prolonged periods of time? Do you experience a continued lack of energy when trying to complete assignments? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing study burnout.

Burnout is caused by excessive stress and can lead to emotional fatigue and physical depletion. While burnout can occur in various situations, such as in the workplace or when caring for a sick relative, it is highly common in the form of study burnout among high school and college students. A large course load, procrastination, and lack of sleep are just a few of the factors that can lead to study burnout. Learn how to identify the signs of study burnout so you can take the proper steps to deal with it.

Identifying the Signs of Study Burnout
Signs of study burnout will vary among individual students. The earlier you are able to identify your own warning signs, the better you will be able to alleviate the situation before it becomes too overwhelming. Some of the most common warning signs of study burnout include:

  • Intellectual exhaustion
  • A decline in academic performance
  • Loss of motivation
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Long term fatigue
  • Lowered immune system

Dealing with Study Burnout
If you find yourself experiencing some of the signs of study burnout, you should immediately take steps to mitigate the burnout. Try to incorporate the following coping strategies into your routine to help keep study burnout at bay.

  • Learn time management skills. As mentioned above, procrastination is one of the major contributing factors to study burnout. If you plan out your schedule every day and stick to it, you will reduce the likelihood of burnout. Use a daily planner or an app on your phone to schedule all of your daily activities, including study time and homework hours. Schedule time to complete assignments and study for tests in as much advance as possible so you aren't cramming the night before a due date or test date. Keeping track of your daily activities and school assignments will help you stay motivated to complete them.
  • Take small breaks when studying. When studying and doing homework, you should pace yourself. Studying for hours on end with no breaks will most likely lead to study burnout. Try to take a 15 minute break after every one to two hours of study time. During your break, get some fresh air, eat a healthy snack, or socialize with a friend. Let your brain rest for a while. Just remember to avoid the temptation of abandoning your studies altogether. Set a time limit for your breaks and stick to it.
  • Get more sleep. High school and college students are notorious for sleeping less than the recommended hours needed to maintain optimum performance. Lack of sleep builds stress that can lead to burnout. You may not notice any ill effects from sleeping less than 8 hours a night for a little while, but as time passes, you will begin to feel the mental and physical effects. Try to sleep between 7 to 8 hours per night in order to perform at your best each day.
  • Eat food to fuel your brain. Your brain needs essential nutrients in order to function at maximum capacity. If you are like many students, you may munch on chips or chocolate and sip soda while you are studying. However, these processed foods and sugar-filled drinks will only make you sluggish. Switch to a healthy diet filled with lots of protein, vegetables, fruit, water, etc., and you will be amazed at how energized you begin to feel. Save the chocolate as a treat to reward yourself when you make an A on that term paper or exam.
  • Get physical. One of the best ways to combat stress that leads to burnout is being physically active. You should try to fit in 30 minutes of aerobic activity on a regular basis, but especially when you are feeling the stress of being a student. Exercising will help calm your nerves so you can be more focused on your studies. So the next time you feel the early signs of study burnout, grab your sneakers and go for a run or take a brisk walk. You should find that you will be more alert and motivated when you return to your schoolwork.
  • Keep an active social life. When you have a full schedule with school, a part-time job, homework, extracurricular activities, etc., keeping an active social life can be difficult. However, socializing with friends is critical in avoiding study burnout. Sometimes you just need to take a break from all the stresses of school and go out and have fun with your friends.
  • Seek counseling. Sometimes the feelings of stress and burnout can be too much for you to handle on your own. If you are feeling too overwhelmed with feelings of study burnout, don't be afraid to ask for help. Seek guidance from your high school counselor or visit the counseling services department at your college. Counseling can help you improve emotional and relationship issues, learn time management skills, and teach you how to better balance your academic, professional, and personal responsibilities.

While stress is probable in the lives of students, the warning signs of burnout are unhealthy and should not be taken lightly. Take action to alleviate study burnout when you notice the first warning signs.


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