At some point in our life, assignments, midterms, and finals have contributed to our lack of motivation, exhaustion, and irritability. You may believe it to be commonplace, and in some circumstances, it may be. Nevertheless, if you consistently experience fatigue, frustration, and demotivation, it is not common anymore, but a very serious condition called academic burnout.

If you believe you have academic burnout and are experiencing these adverse, emotional, physical, and mental reactions that further impair your capacity to do well in school, the University of the Potomac will walk you through seven ways you can prevent academic burnout.

What Causes Academic Burnout?

Academic burnout does not, however, magically occur overnight. It takes time to get to the point where you feel drained no matter what you do. In some extreme cases, this can lead to headaches, insomnia, and even depression. 

Therefore, we will discuss three causes of academic burnout, so you can be ready for the unexpected or relate it to the symptoms you are already experiencing.

Financial stress

Financial stress is something that constantly haunts us, be it in college, work, or even our homes. Financial stress occurs most often in college students who receive scholarships or lack sufficient finances and are burdened with debt. To support yourself and your studies, you might also work a part- or full-time job, which adds a lot of stress and eventually worse grades and academic burnout.

Work overload

There are two ways to express work overload: either you work a full-time job while maintaining your grades or continuously study. While studying helps you achieve your goals, overcommitting yourself to several activities may be detrimental to your mental health. Your body occasionally needs a break, and academic burnout will result if you do not allow yourself one.

Lack of sleep

You get nervous before your final exams, take an energy drink, and the next thing you know, you’re up at five in the morning studying, which means you didn’t get any sleep. Another student, on the other hand, sleeps and gets at least 8 hours. What are your chances of outperforming the other student who slept through the night in terms of grades?

The stakes are minimal as you will likely cause yourself additional stress, which will lead you to doubt your answers to every question and interfere with your ability to think clearly. Sleep and breakfast are the two most crucial things you shouldn’t neglect before an exam. Every student needs a good night’s sleep, after all.

How Common is Academic Burnout?

Perhaps you’re wondering how frequent academic burnout is. According to Salud Mental’s research,  at least 40% of students experience academic burnout during their college years.  Healthcare, nursing, and engineering occupations may involve the most stress. On the other hand, art, social sciences, dentistry, and business fields have the lowest stress levels.

How to Recover From Academic Burnout?

Recovering from academic burnout might seem a bit hard in the beginning. Still, it is something you can overcome by doing some daily activities that will help you recover or even prevent academic burnout from occurring in the first place. 


Exercising benefits our physical, mental, and emotional health. For this factor to contribute to preventing academic burnout or even recovering from it, it’s advisable you exercise at least three times a week.  You might experience the calm, energy, and positivity you will have with just one exercise. At such times, water is your biggest ally, so drink as much as you need to maintain your body and mind’s health.

Drink plenty of water

Water is essential for human beings to survive. We need to repay our organism for everything it allows us to do, including studying late into the night, going out to a party, hiking, and so on. We can repay our organism by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy. These two elements will not only aid in avoiding academic burnout but will also have a more substantial effect on your health and academic performance.

Take regular breaks

Breaks are a must when studying. Studying for hours without taking a 10-15 minute break will not be effective when you take the exam and will certainly not do good for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Breaks allow your body and brain to rest, so we suggest having a 15-minute break for every hour you study, and during that 15-minute break, you can do whatever you want, but the break is “you time,” and you better spend it like it.

Avoid procrastination

Procrastination often occurs when you don’t manage your time correctly and find yourself unprepared one day before your assignment or exam. You will stress yourself more than you would by studying as this class may be important to you; however, we highly recommend avoiding procrastination as it only harms you, and nothing good comes out of it.

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Engage in social activities

Participating in social events inspires you to start the week off right. There are a lot of social activities you can engage in, like debate clubs, music clubs, art clubs, and many more waiting for you to explore them. By participating in these social events, you’ll get to know new people, share cultures, and perhaps even end up with lifelong friends.

Set reasonable goals

For most of our lives, we’ve been told to set goals for ourselves, and while we assume we can, we have never been taught how to set realistic ones and achieve them. The first thing you can do is write your every goal on paper, be it a short-term goal or a long time one. 

After that, you should prioritize goals and set short-term milestones as you can’t achieve everything right away. Another thing to consider when writing your goals is to be as specific as possible, which will also increase your motivation towards achieving the goal.

Plan everything ahead

So, no more staying up late studying because you thought you had enough time to learn. It’s better to plan everything so you don’t let yourself be in these situations anymore. We suggest dedicating at least two hours to studying the content daily—not the entire day. As a result, you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll do on your exam and, more crucially, how you can prevent academic fatigue.

Final Thoughts

By now, you should know everything about academic burnout, including its signs and symptoms, causes, and ways to avoid it. In college, stress will follow you, but you should make an effort to manage it and avoid adding more to your level of stress by not saying no when you have a lot on your plate. 

Your health should be a priority, and after you consider the factors we mentioned above, you will succeed in your academic life. Having said that, seize the day!