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Breaking Down Burnout

Being involved in any profession comes with its difficulties. For instance, working positions that involve teaching or being a lawyer are known to be quite stressful professions. Moreover, whilst research tended to focus on work-related and university level stress factors, more studies have been developed to reiterate the rise in high school students’ stress levels.

Between balancing home assignments, a proper sleeping schedule, examinations, and other tasks, high school students are also expected to maintain their motivation to achieve satisfactory academic results. The stress of becoming the best can drive students to experience a common symptom known as burnout.

Research has identified three common dimensions in burnout, which include, exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. Exhaustion does not necessarily mean to feel only physically tired, however it can also include feeling emotionally exhausted, where your mental capacity is depleted.

In terms of burnout, cynicism involves loss of interest in a student’s motivations. Some students may feel that their work has become meaningless and in turn become indifferent to their academic tasks.

The third dimension of burnout encompasses a student’s lack of achievement, where they feel as though they have lost their sense of competence in their lives.

Furthermore, studies have shown that school-related burnout can produce a higher risk of students experiencing internalized issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Burnout can be spotted through various symptoms such as, increased irritability, where a student can become more susceptible to conflict with friends and family. Other students may just fantasize about escaping their lives, which can lead to harmful habits such as drug and alcohol usage.

One of the most noteworthy causes of burnout that could be mostly associated with students is beginning a task with excessive and ambition, thus pushing themselves to completing it adequately, up to their (sometimes unrealistic) standards.

Reducing burnout in your life is a prolonged process, where you have to first care for yourself. For example, acknowledging your physical wellbeing through a bit of exercise and eating right can go a long way to helping you stabilize your feeling of burnout.

The best practice to have when noticing burnout is to ask your close friends to check in with you and catch up with how each of you are feeling. Anyone can be vulnerable to feeling burnout. Moreover, Talking and addressing the issue firsthand will build a foundation for a successful coping mechanism.


Fraga, J., 2019. How to identify and prevent B\burnout. Healthline. Available at:

Walburg, V., 2014. Burnout among high school students: A literature review. Children and Youth Services Review, 42, pp.28–33.

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