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How To Deal With Burnout In College

how to deal with burnout college

In these days of overstimulation from social media, news broadcasts, working many hours, taking college courses, and trying to have an enjoyable home life, the term burnout is more prevalent than ever. But, what exactly is it, and how can we avoid it, or at least have tools to lessen its hold on our lives? 

There are three main types of burnout: college, work, and social. Who knew!! One gets tired and stressed just reading these terms.

However, generally speaking, according to Cleveland Clinic, “if you are feeling exhausted and sluggish, and even simple tasks feel overwhelming to complete—or you find yourself so stressed out that you’re quick to get angry or frustrated—you might be experiencing burnout.” 

Types Of Burnout That College Students May Experience

College Burnout 

Burnout in college is a major problem. In fact, a 2021 study found that more than half of the 33,000 surveyed college students experienced anxiety or depression. And 83% of respondents said their mental health hurt their academic performance.

Signs of college burnout include:  

  • You’re constantly exhausted 
  • You lack motivation 
  • You’re constantly frustrated 
  • Your grades are suffering 
  • You’re struggling to pay attention 
  • You feel disengaged from friends and colleagues 


Work Burnout 

Work burnout can result from various factors including lack of control, an inability to influence decisions that affect your job, or unclear job expectations.

Signs of work burnout include: 

  • Feeling tired or exhausted 
  • No enthusiasm, and feelings of negativity toward your job 
  • Inability to perform your job 


Social Burnout

If you are getting irritable with family and friends for no reason and suddenly your mood shifts, you might be dealing with social burnout. 

Signs of social burnout include: 

  • Shutting down altogether
  • Shutting down certain parts of the brain in an attempt to focus on just a few things at a time 
  • Channelizing or having tunnel vision 


How To Deal With Burnout In College

Since we are all different human beings, there is no perfect solution. However, Dr. Adam  Borland of the Cleveland Clinic suggests the following to get us back to balance: 

  • First, recognize you may have burnout 
  • Consider seeing a therapist (someone impartial and trained to give clinical feedback) 
  • Take a break, if only for an hour, to check in to see how we are doing mentally and physically 
  • Take a few minutes every day to do some type of exercise 
  • Practice mindfulness (taking a few deep breaths helps focus on the moment) 
  • Establish a daily routine 
  • Start to build and enforce work-life boundaries 
  • Explore a hobby or volunteer outside of work 


In addition to his tips, we also suggest trying out the following strategies:

  • Learn to say no; you may feel intense pressure to hustle and get ahead 
  • Focus on time management 
  • Prioritize sleep and exercise 
  • Set reasonable goals 
  • Make time for fun 
  • Ask for help 
  • Talk with your supervisor 
  • Try a relaxing activity 
  • Talk to trusted co-workers, friends, and family 

Joanne is a professional speaker, writer, organizer, and certified life coach. She received her Communications/Creative Writing BS degree from Chapman University in Orange, California.

Since deciding to attend college in her later years, she is well versed in the why and how it works. Her children were inspired to continue their education after high school, after watching their mom attend at an advanced age. Joanne was working for a Fortune 500 Company and knew getting a college degree would make her more competitive in the job market. She started at the junior college level and transferred her credits to Chapman. To her amazement, after graduation, a new Communications Department opened up and she was selected to be one of the Communications Specialists in the new department. It was also at a pay increase which made it all the more satisfying.

Currently, Joanne has her first two e-books in her Better Life Series on “How to Have More Love and Peace in Your Life,” and “Four Steps to Happiness.” “Beyond Hoping” is in the works along with a children’s book.

Joanne has seen how a college education can create new opportunities for young and old students and wishes she had a team like My College Planning Team available to her and her children to assist with their process and save them time, stress and money.

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