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Female student lying on the floor with a book of her head because she is dealing with academic burnout.

Senior year of high school is exciting and fun, but it can also be a source of stress for many students.  Suddenly, homework, study groups, and quizzes have created feelings of overwhelm, pressure, and exhaustion.

Some of the things that can lead students to academic burnout include lack of sleep, loads of school work, poor eating habits, little to no physical activity, ineffective time management skills, and unrealistic goals/pressure placed upon themselves – to where it becomes increasingly difficult to live up to their own expectations.  Read on for ways to alleviate and avoid some of these feelings in the future.

Make time for things you enjoy.

Some of us need to be reminded to slow down, put work aside, and do something fulfilling…and not just on the weekends!  Put a reminder on your calendar to do the things that fill your cup throughout the week, e.g., keeping a gratitude journal, exercising, and spending time with friends.  Once you hit that reset button, it will become easier to take a fresh approach to the “other stuff.”

Get outside!

Nature can create many positive emotions: joy, calmness, creativity, and clarity.  And all these emotions can also counteract feelings of depression and anxiety.  Utilize the seasons: build a snowman in the winter!  Head to the woods and take in all of the beautiful colors in autumn!  Take a family vacation to the beach or lake in the summer!  The fresh air and bright sunlight will give you the boost you need to tackle all that homework and those college applications!

Get plenty of exercise and water.

Make it a goal to exercise at least three times per week, even for 10-15 minutes: participate in high school sports, go for a bike ride, or walk your dog.  Staying active and hydrated is the best way to keep your mind healthy!  And if your mind is healthy, your body is soon to follow!

Avoid procrastination.

It’s always tempting to postpone the inevitable – studying for midterms/finals, putting off projects, completing college essays, and planning college visits.  But putting these things off will ultimately lead to frustration and sleep deprivation.  Prioritize your deadlines and come up with a permanent plan to avoid procrastination.  You will be so glad you did, and you’ll see that you should’ve started long ago!


Meditation calms your mind and grounds you.  It helps you focus your attention and eliminate all of the jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing anxiety and stress. 

Ask for help.

Sometimes we can’t do everything on our own.  Seek assistance from school counselors, family members, your doctor, and even your friends.  There is no weakness in admitting we’re struggling, and you may find that many of your other friends are in the same boat as you and can relate.

Academic burnout is a common occurrence for many students, but it can be effectively managed and prevented with a few simple methods (as shown above).  Hang in there; graduation is just around the corner!

By Lori Caffery