Mental health has become a major talking point on college campuses in recent years, and in 2017 the National College Health Assessment recorded that more than 30 percent of college students are affected by it.
Burnout has been defined by David Ballard, of the American Psychological Association, as “An extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their student performance.”
Just like in medical illnesses, self-detection is often the first sign of a problem developing.
Burnout symptoms include lack of motivation, anxiety, plummeting grades, procrastination, reduced self-esteem, and a struggle to stay focused.
In a study done by Southern New Hampshire University in 2018, “85 percent of students reported feeling overwhelmed by everything they had done in the past year” while “only 8 percent of students sought out treatment.”
“When you’re burned out, you won’t be able to do much work, so you might as well take the time to care for yourself. Don’t feel guilty about it because that will only hamper your recovery,” said Marcelina Hardy, a board certified coach through the National Board of Certified Counselors and Center of Credentialing and Education.
After a self-diagnosis, it is necessary to take the proper steps to find methods to overcome.
Fall back from schoolwork, change your routine, and do something that makes you happy, experts advise.
Most importantly change your vocabulary. Stop saying “should” and “shouldn’t.” Saying you should miss out on sleep to study for an exam or shouldn’t eat breakfast in order to make it to class on time is ultimately contributing to burnout and the overall failure of a student’s health.
All-nighters are cute until you have a breakdown.
Such words imply guilt and obligation. It implies an order of importance without weighing what is actually necessary for productivity. Students can create an unhealthy practice of “earning” necessities, like how some athletes push themselves past breaking points to earn meals, and some students give up caring for themselves to earn success in school.
Lastly, remember “no” is a complete sentence. So if you can’t, don’t.
“Balancing work, home and school can be challenging. When you find yourself stretched in too many directions, say no to some commitments,” wrote Ashley Wallis, at Southern New Hampshire University.
College is not the time for ambitions to take over. Knowing your limits is not a sign of weakness, but responsibility.