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At American National University, we pride ourselves on being the university where students with families and careers can earn their education. Whether you are a new or returning student, we know that it can be hard to manage academic life, especially when you have additional responsibilities. With that in mind, it is easy to become burnt out because of your career, academics, and your personal life. How do you recognize burnout in stress and how do you fix the stress?

What is Burnout?

The World Health Organization recognizes occupational burnout, and describes it as: “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Along with that, there is a phenomenon of educational burnout as well. Tyler Epps from bestcolleges.com refers to “college burn-out” as “an extended period of extreme fatigue and apathy that often results in a decline in academic performance. In college, burnout can be triggered by a variety of factors, but it’s most often caused by overwhelming work demands and prolonged levels of intense stress.”

All in all, the two types are not very different from one another—they both come from untreated stress from overwhelming work demands. Working a full-time job, managing a family, and going to school all at once can lead to this happening and we want to help avoid this! But how do you recognize when you are facing burnout?

What are the symptoms?

  • Overly tired or constant exhaustion
  • Loss of interest in work or school
  • Decreased ability to do your job or schoolwork

Burnout also leads to anxiety and depression, so be on the lookout for these symptoms as well:

  • Irritability or annoyance
  • Frustration or anger
  • Restlessness or anxiety
  • Lack of motivation

How do I avoid burnout?

Although burnout can seem daunting, there are ways to prevent yourself from falling into such stress and strife. Here are some tips!

  • Manage your time: Stress and feelings of being overwhelmed can be avoided if you know how you use your time and plan effectively. Check out our post on time management for advice on how to gain control over your schedule!
  • Make time for fun: With everything that you may have to do between work, home, and school, make sure you are deliberately giving yourself free time to do things you enjoy. Allowing yourself the time to step away from your responsibilities will allow you to take a break, while also allowing you to return to your work with fresh eyes and new outlooks.
  • Prioritize sleep: We know this is a difficult one. Between balancing your academic and career responsibilities, you may also have children who deprive you of a good night’s rest. Michael Breus with The Sleep Doctor says that sleep is important for workplace and school performance, “during sleep, your brain creates and maintains pathways that are critical for memory formation and retention. These processes help enhance learning and problem-solving skills.” Experts recommend that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep. Try to get into a sleep routine of going to bed at the same time every night in a dark and quiet room (free from any electronics) in an environment where you won’t wake up too hot or too cold.
  • Ask for help: Arguably our most important tip: Please ask for help and use the resources that are available to you here at ANU! We know that asking for help can be a struggle, however, at ANU, we have more than plenty of lines of support you can go to when you suspect you’re burnt out. Talk with your boss about your workload and how they can help you succeed in your career while you earn your education. Speak with your professors for help not only with assignments and due dates, but also ask for their tips for online learning success. Reach out to career services and student services to find more help from our faculty!

College presents its own challenges that students have to face, and students at ANU may also be dealing with other responsibilities like taking care of a family or working a full-time job. All of this piled on without proper management can cause burnout, not only in the workplace, but academically. We want our students to recognize this and work to prevent it in order to be academically successful and earn their degrees.

At American National University, we offer you so much more than just your education, but student resources and support every step of the way—all from your home. Be live, in class, from anywhere. To learn more about the services we offer you, go to an.edu/elearning or head over to our FAQ page at https://an.edu/frequently-asked-questions-about-online-learning/

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