Photo By: Christian Erfurt from Unsplash

As students, it’s easy to get caught up in life and everything it has to offer. Between schoolwork, classes, working, and making time for friends and family, it can sometimes become too much to handle.

As students, we are taught to push through and tackle hard tasks and persevere when things get tough. At what point is that a toxic thing? At what point are we pushing ourselves too hard and tackling too much? One good sign that you are pushing yourself too hard is burnout. 

There are different types of burnout: overload burnout, under challenge burnout, and neglect burnout.

Overload burnout can often look like someone working exceptionally hard in search of success. This can result in risking one’s own personal health and needs in pursuit of ambitious endeavors. This type of burnout often results in complaining and overthinking as well as frequent low points. 

Overload burnout can also look like compassion fatigue. Although compassion fatigue is different from burnout, compassion fatigue is the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of helping others and burnout is a cumulative sense of fatigue and dissatisfaction, and disengagement. 

Under-challenge burnout is different in the sense that it often leads to feelings of unappreciation, and fewer learning opportunities which then results in people distancing themselves from their work, as they are having difficulties finding passion and joy in their everyday activities. This often leads to avoidance and overall disengagement.

Lastly, neglect burnout often comes from feelings of helplessness. When there is too much to be done or too many criteria to satisfy, people tend to panic and resist because it’s easier than getting overwhelmed.

There are many signs of burnout, whether you are looking for the signs for yourself or a friend, they are important to recognize. Some signs and symptoms include:

– Frequent exhaustion and muscle aches

– A negative attitude about work

– A perpetual feeling of being overwhelmed

– Neglecting your own needs

– Procrastinating

– Short-tempered, especially with colleagues

– Difficulty sticking to regular self-care (i.e. exercise, eating well, etc.)

– Loss of motivation and optimism

Lots of things contribute to burnout, but here are some things that can help avoid or manage burnout before it becomes unbearable. Try implementing a time every day to eat and do one thing that keeps you happy, like writing in a journal, taking a bath, making art, or baking. You can also try to avoid burnout by reducing your stress, which can be done by establishing boundaries and charting what you are committed to versus what you are accomplishing, among other things.

Managing negative thoughts and energy can be tough, but trying to find an outlet for those can help immensely. It doesn’t hurt to speak with a counsellor, or a close friend that you trust about how you are feeling about your workload and how you’re managing it. Speaking your mind and being honest are fantastic strategies to communicate positively that you are experiencing feelings of burnout. A simple conversation with your teacher or employer could make all the difference. 

All of these things could help diminish those negative thoughts and attitudes. Although oftentimes these things are easier said than done, they might be able to help immensely in the long run.