Burnout Begone: 4 ways to avoid burnout in your high school years
October 17, 2022
High school is a time full of several different changes and situations in life that would make almost anyone get stressed. Finding the right balance between maintaining a good social life, keeping up good grades, staying committed to sports, getting work done on time, or involvement in clubs and side activities can be tricky for teens and can quickly lead to burnout. According to statistics, close to 61% of teens between the ages of 13-17 say they are put under immense pressure when it comes to balancing their lives and escaping the stress of high school. Trying to balance the stress factors that high school years easily bring ultimately leads to burnout syndrome.
What exactly is burnout syndrome? Burnout is a feeling of immense exhaustion—both physically and mentally—due to underlying stress. Burnout can lead to several symptoms and mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite. A few physical symptoms can include stomach aches, headaches, and a weakened immune system. Burnout itself can happen easily when functioning under intense amounts of stress. Luckily, there are some ways that can help one get back on track and become better at handling the obstacles that the teenage years bring! Here are four main ones:
#1- Self Care time. When you are busy with other activities, such as homework, studying, and sports, it’s easy to let the hours slip by without having any personal time. Whether it’s taking a day off of sports or a day off school just for a mental recharge, self-care is one of the most important aspects of keeping yourself healthy. When you’re busy taking care of other things, you often forget to prioritize your health. Taking time to do something you love or enjoy is essential for your health and in return, for preventing burnout.
#2- Stress management. Sometimes stress and anxiety can become overwhelming. You can feel like a prisoner with an endless amount of commitments. Whether it’s worrying about an exam coming up or a paper your teacher has yet to grade, stress and anxiety can become overbearing, so finding a way to manage it is essential. The way people manage their stress can differ depending on different factors. One popular way is by thinking about the things you can control and cannot control. After identifying these, try focusing on the things that are in your control and recognize that what is out of your control is beyond you. Similar to self-care, doing something relaxing that you enjoy can be a great way to manage stress. You can listen to music, perform techniques such as yoga or meditation, or do anything that truly brings you joy. Managing and controlling stress is an essential way to help you be your most productive and best self, and definitely helps avoid burnout.
#3- Time management. When caught up in a tornado of tests to study for, assignments to complete, events to attend, and games to play in, we can become disorganized when it comes to deadlines. People often end up wasting more time stressing out when they are disorganized with their work and commitments and end up in a black hole. Organizing a schedule or daily routine to follow can help you stay on track and think clearly. The schedule can vary from the order in which you do your work to a routine from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed. Any scheduling technique that works best for you and keeps your mind and thoughts on track is essential in helping with stress and avoiding burnout.
#4- Rest, Rest, Rest. We all know the feeling of getting home from practice at 9 PM and finding a whole folder of homework waiting for us at our desks. We then don’t finish doing the work until 12-1 AM. That leaves us with less than 5-6 hours of sleep. The teenage brain requires 8-9 hours of sleep nightly to be able to fully function in a stress-filled environment. Pretty much, getting rest can feel impossible other than downing caffeine at 6 AM. Although it can be hard to achieve, our bodies and minds need rest to be able to stay strong. When we are deprived of rest, it contributes to burnout. Some quick way to help your body recharge and rest is to have downtime. Find 20-30 minutes out of your day to take a quick nap that will help your body get the rest it needs to function fully. On the weekends, try to refrain from staying up too late, and try to sleep to the best of your ability. And as always, if you are feeling too overwhelmed, take a day off from school or sports and use it as a catch-up day for any work or self-care you may need to work on—along with getting extra sleep and rest to help you recharge.