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How to Avoid Academic Burnout as an Adult Learner


Continuing to pursue your education as an adult can be a real challenge since you must balance your daily activities while completing school assignments and evaluations. It might seem easy at first, but over time this balancing can affect your mind and emotional state of being. Academic burnout is the accumulation of stress from work and home-life resulting in frustration or lack of motivation to continue schoolwork. In this blog, we will look at how you can manage burnout and pursue your educational goals with a more positive state of mind.

Student struggling with work

How To Recognize if You Have Burnout?

The first step to recognizing academic burnout is to assess your current state. Do you feel like you are overwhelmed? Do you feel unmotivated and stressed? Do you feel like you’re struggling to manage your time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are starting to feel burned out.

Burnout may manifest itself emotionally or physically; and can differ from person to person. Some of the symptoms you might experience can be exhaustion, loss of confidence, anxiety, or even lack of motivation to attend lectures or start assignments. When identifying academic burnout, always look and see what is causing you to feel this way. Is it pressure from family activities? Does your job impact the amount of time you have to study? If so, you might need to rethink how you manage your time.

Say no to stress and strive for success

How To Manage Academic Burnout?

As an adult student it is hard to manage a busy life and schedule, with all the academic, work, and personal responsibilities. Here are some steps you can take to minimize or alleviate your burnout.

  • Build a schedule: Building a schedule can help you assess how you use your time and plan a timetable that can help you be more efficient. By creating a schedule, you can determine priorities, identify upcoming deadlines, and spend time on the right tasks.
  • Pace yourself: As an adult learner, you should consider pacing yourself and take it one step at a time.
  • Consider going online: With the COVID-19 pandemic, most colleges offer online programs that can be taken without leaving the comfort of your home. Online programs offer a convenient alternative to attending in-class and are generally very effective.
  • Take a break: You can’t study or work all the time. You should plan time to rest and spend time doing fun extra curriculars or even take a vacation. This can help your mind rest, relax, and build your confidence with your academic work. 
  • Stay active/healthy: Keeping your body and mind healthy is very important as a student. Making time for physical activity, eating healthier foods, and staying hydrated can help improve concentration, alertness, reduce stress, and enhance your cognitive function.
  • Proper sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep will give your mind the daily rest it needs to deal with stress. Getting into a regular sleep routine will help improve concentration, regulate mood, and enhance decision-making.

Burnout can often feel insurmountable as you continue your academic ventures. By understanding the symptoms, causes and then implementing a plan to address it, you can build a road map for prevention and be a more successful adult learner.

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