SGPsychStud: Psychological Burnout - How does it feel like?


Stress..such a common experience.  Many students may experience this during their study terms, due to being overloaded with school work or personal life issues.  However, is the experience of psychological burnout common?  And how is stress and psychological burnout related?  I would say that burnout is common and it is highly related to stress, and it is quite common for students to face mental health issues (US article).

So what is psychological burnout?  According to HelpGuide.org, it is "a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress."  It usually started with you being overwhelmed with your experienced stress in school, work, or home.  As you get more overwhelmed with the stress over time,  you begin to lose the interest or motivation to continue with your work, or even on worst cases, this may lead to a major depressive episode.

There are actually quite a lot of reasons for why people experience burnout, and they are usually similar to those of stress and depression.  The symptoms of psychological burnout are actually quite similar to those of depression too, hence that is why it might be wrongly diagnosed as depression.  But burnout is not a clinical disorder.  The symptoms may include:
  • Feeling tired or lack of energy
  • Low mood and/or easily irritable or frustrated
  • Not feeling good about yourself
  • Amotivation in your usual (or even favourite) activities
  • Inability to concentrate and focus in class (especially for students) 
  • Others
This can help to anyone, no matter how young or old you are.  As students, it is very possible to happen for psychological burnout to hit you, especially when you are stressed to meet assignment due dates, last minute studying for exams, doing your projects, or even unknowingly mid-way of your study semesters and terms.  So what can you do about psychological burnout?

HelpGuide.org suggests "The Three R Approach":
  • Recognize – Watch for the warning signs of burnout
  • Reverse – Undo the damage by managing stress and seeking support
  • Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health
I would say "Prevention is better than cure", so one of the best things to do is to make sure that you have excellent time management skills.  This will ensure that things get done and prepared in time,  hence reducing your stress and your chances of getting a psychological burnout (See here for tips).

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