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Tackling Academic Burnout

When it comes to juggling personal, work and academic life, there may be some difficulties doing so. In many cases when going through the journey of higher education, the process of conducting research and submitting papers may seem over-bearing and shadow all other aspects of the student's life. Working hard and dedication are important qualities to have not only in order to become academically successful, but in all aspects of life, as well. But, what happens when somebody works too hard or dedicates too much time to their studies? That would mean having a negative effect on the mind and body, promoting the deterioration of physical and mental health. In this case, the student may be facing academic burnout.


Understanding Burnout


To truly understand the feelings of being overwhelmed by work is to recognize the nature of burnoutfeelings of exhaustion paired with low productivity that derives from being over worked. Although it is a common assumption to believe burnout only surfaces when one is completing work they do not enjoy, that is not the case. It can creep up on someone who is very passionate towards their studies and enjoys the work they are completing. When bearing an excessive amount of work, no matter the content, one may face sleepless nights and become introduced to looming presence of anxiety.


How to Combat


The good news is that although burnout may seem indefinite, it most certainly does not have to be. By switching one's mindset and habits, an excessive work load can become more manageable. It is important for the student to recognize that focusing on perfectionism is not as beneficial as it may seem. The excessive time spent focusing on meticulous detail could hinder their work, rather than help it. Another way to combat feelings of stress when it comes to studies is for students to set small goals to accomplish and be proud of themselves for completing them. Only focusing on long-term goals that seem overwhelming may become mentally draining.

"It is very interesting if you look at the effects of stress on the brain and the body...the more your stress is, to some degree you perform better, but at some point you hit a tipping point where the stress is too high and your productivity decreases." -Catherine Hambley, PhD, organizational psychologist based in Monterey, CA.

The perseverance that accompanies hard work is an admirable quality to have and will most likely lead to success in one's life. That being said, if anyone is overworked enough they could begin to experience signs of burnout. When it comes to protecting the quality of one's mental health, being mindful and in tune with signs of how the body is reacting to stress, physically and mentally, can go a long way.



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