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Are You Stressed Out Because Of Academic Burnout?

Written by Christine Rees

Photo by Tyler Lastovich

When you’re juggling a full school load, work, and a social life, academic burnout can take its toll on your wellbeing—especially if you have passion projects and responsibilities on the side. If you are unable to say “no” to things, you may end up burying yourself under tasks that you simply can’t keep up with. *waves frantically* I’m speaking from personal experience here!

As a result, you’re likely to decline in performance. Stress can be experienced without taking on academic burnout. In fact, there are times where stress can positively impact your performance. However, stress that messes with your social, academic, or general wellbeing may result in academic burnout. 

academic burnout, sleeping on train
Photo by Abbie Bernet on Unsplash

How Do You Know When You’re Experiencing Academic Burnout?

There are many symptoms related to this issue. Firstly, start by asking yourself, are you… 

  • Feeling exhausted ALL THE TIME?

  • Constantly frustrated? 

  • Lacking motivation?

  • Struggling to pay attention?

  • Lowering your grade average?

  • Often feeling disengaged from the people around you?

If yes, then keep on reading because you might be experiencing burnout. This isn’t something that quickly develops overnight. Burnout can take years or months to fully form, and an overbearing course load may be the root of the problem. If this is not the cause of your issue, determine what is—this is crucial!

How Can You Prevent and Defeat Academic Burnout?

On the bright side, developing self-awareness can help counter and prevent academic burnout from occurring at all. Whether you’re barely hanging on to your academic grade average, just noticing the beginning warning signs, or have been dealing with this issue for months, try these strategies to combat your burnout before it fully takes hold.


Beware the warning signs! Anticipate what’s causing the burnout so you can get ahead of it. Therefore, if you’re concerned that the road to burning out is right in front of you, don’t ignore it. Don’t make light of it. Do something about it.


That’s right. Hop into bed and catch those ZZZ’s. All-nighters are not something we should be encouraging, especially during such a stressful time. Getting enough sleep each night keeps you on the path that AVOIDS academic burnout. All-nighters cast you way deep into its track.  


Say “no” when you have to. Most of us feel as though we should bite off more than we can chew by accepting more challenges than we can possibly get done… and get done RIGHT. We want to impress people. We want to learn and grow our skills. That doesn’t mean that you should be saying “yes” to everything that comes your way. Unfortunately, the more tasks that pile onto your plate, the less time you have to think, grow, and learn. You’re basically hindering yourself. 

Balance is NEEDED. It’s okay to say “yes” to challenging yourself, however, it’s equally as important to remember how these new obligations will stretch out your time. Everyone has limitations, so try your best not to zoom straight past them. 


I’m not sure about you, but I picked up a horrible habit in university. I don’t exactly have an “off” switch when it comes to working from home. I write articles, respond to emails, and start on assignments immediately as they come to me. The only time I seem to get away from it is when I’m actually away and not in the country. If this is you, then you’ve probably realized that THIS LIFESTYLE IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. 

Work towards catching yourself when this happens. I’m not suggesting you indulge in that Netflix-binge you’re probably thinking of (I mean Stranger Things Season 3 is here, just saying) but try something that is outside of what you normally do. Pick up a book. Listen to a podcast. Socialize. Go for a walk. Get out of the house. 

Just take a legitimate break.

Your brain will be SO much happier.


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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.