stress burnout

Strategies for Avoiding Stress Burnout in College

Many college students get caught up in the vicious cycle of stress and bad habits and worry that they will burn out before they graduate, let alone before they enter their desired career field. Stress burnout is one of the main reasons young adults drop out of college or take time off to focus on self-care and re-evaluating their academic goals. Young adults who begin taking classes again are more aware of how their stress levels can affect their academic performance but worry that they won’t be able to avoid stress burnout when they try to balance responsibilities with the coping mechanisms they’ve learned.

What is Stress Burnout?

According to a new study by researchers at SUNY Binghamton, “the adoption of one harmful behavior, such as heavy alcohol use, can lead college students into a vicious cycle of poor lifestyle choices, lack of sleep, mental distress and poor grades.” Most failing college students are failing because of their mental health and ability to manage responsibilities of college life, not because of their academic abilities.

Stress at work and school is inevitable with deadlines, projects, and evaluations, but burnout occurs when someone is struggling to manage how that stress affects other areas of their life. 

Stress burnout refers to:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from completing assignments
  • Reduced sense of accomplishment

How to Manage College Stress:

  1. Remember that learning can be satisfying. As students choose their majors, they have more choice over taking courses that interest them. Students get out of classes the effort they put into them. Often, additional assignments are a way for teachers to encourage students to interact with what they’re learning and see how information can be applied, not to add to their workload.
  2. Have a good sense of what you need to do over the course of the semester or quarter, and when you need to do it. It may seem premature to plan ahead towards the beginning of the semester or to complete assignments weeks before they are due, but this can help students balance their workload before it becomes overwhelming. Stay organized using to-do lists or calendars and check things off as you go along.
  3. Perfection is impossible. While high expectations keep some people motivated, unrealistic expectations lower one’s self-esteem and ability to take pride in their accomplishments. 
  4. Know when to take a break. Young adults aren’t always aware of their limitations and if they are, they struggle to listen to parts of themselves telling them to slow down. When you lose your focus, taking a break — rather than pushing yourself to keep going — is what will get you back on track. Integrating play into your day can help renew your sense of confidence and enthusiasm.

Journey Home Young Adult Can Help 

Journey Home Young Adult is a transitional living program for teens ages 18-23 struggling with emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders that have affected their academic and career goals. Journey Home creates an environment conducive to healing where teens can learn healthy coping skills while becoming more well-equipped to launch into adulthood. Students are encouraged to take college classes and receive additional academic support from mentors to help them stay on track and manage their stress.

To learn more about stress burnout in college students, contact us at 801-444-0794.

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