Coping With Burnout

School, extracurricular activities, family responsibilities, and work obligations: many young people are juggling a lot at once. Often burnout is discussed when talking about demanding careers, but the burnout teenage students experience is left out of the conversation. We talk about “self-care” often but it is not always practiced. This can lead to burnout, the feeling of being physically and mentally exhausted. Burnout tends to creep up unexpectedly, but knowing what to look for can help us cope. What can we do to prevent and cope with burnout?

Recognizing Burnout:

Knowing what to look for is an important step in reducing burnout. Have you ever felt exhausted, easily overwhelmed, and under-motivated? You might notice changes in your sleep and eating patterns, or maybe you are experiencing frequent headaches and stomach aches. These things can be signs of burnout. Instead of pushing them off to the side, acknowledge that you might be experiencing burnout.

How do we cope with burnout?

  1. Prioritize self-care. When we hear about self-care sometimes that looks like wearing a face mask, watching your favorite movie, or taking a bubble bath. While these activities may be calming, when it comes to reducing burnout we need to focus on our physical and mental health needs as well. This includes making sure you are eating nourishing meals, getting enough sleep, spending some time exercising or getting in some type of movement, and practicing mindfulness. You don’t have to do it all at once- try picking one or two self-care goals to practice at a time until they become part of your routine.
  2. Set boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no if you need to! While it is tempting to say yes to every invite you receive it’s important to know when it is time to say no to work, school, or social commitments.
  3. Take breaks. When we are busy, we sometimes forget to take breaks. When we have many tasks on our to do list it feels easy to work through the entire list at once, but this can lead to burnout. Try taking a ten minute walk as a short ‘study break’ and make it a priority no to work through your lunch breaks.
  4. Ask for help. If you feel overwhelmed with everything on your plate, reach out for help. When you are overwhelmed with schoolwork, ask a trusted teacher for assistance. If you are working more hours than you can handle, let your boss know you need to change your schedule. Asking for help before the burnout occurs will help you with productivity!
  5. Find time for the things that bring you joy. This goes along with self-care but refers more to the time you take for your hobbies and the things that fill your cup, so to speak. If you are introverted this may be a solo activity that recharges you. If you are an extrovert this may look like going out with friends or family. Whatever it is, find time to replenish your energy.

Burnout is tough, but when you know what to look for and how to cope, it is manageable. Remember to ask for help, take time or yourself, and remind yourself that you are doing your best.

Have you experienced burnout? What has helped you manage burnout in your life?

Moderator ★

Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: We look forward to talking to you!

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