Feeling Burned Out? Here’s How to Stay Motivated

Lizzie Ottenstein
Shreejana Mainali
A female student feeling stressed out while having online class on her laptop.

Students are dealing with continuous pressure to adapt and succeed in a new learning environment on top of pandemic stress, limited virtual interaction with teachers, and isolated learning without the usual means of support. This has students feeling burned out and exhausted. Help combat these feelings with these 5 simple yet effective methods.

➜ 1. Figuring out what’s causing your burnout and seek help 

Feeling tired no matter how much you sleep or having trouble focusing in class are common indicators of burnout. The first step is recognizing you have it. Start by taking a break from work or rearrange your schedule to include breaks. These breaks will help you stay focused and boost the quality of your work. Talk to your guidance or mental health counselor for additional help. Exercising and doing things you enjoy also have major benefits.

➜ 2. Set (realistic!) goals

It’s easy to lose motivation if you fail to achieve big goals, and taking on more and more assignments without a plan will only worsen your burnout. Set small realistic goals and work towards them. Create a workable schedule allowing you to plan ahead and strategize on big assignments. Divide major projects into small steps and complete them one by one. Every time you complete a mini-goal, you will feel motivated to move ahead and achieve the final one.

➜ 3. Practice stress management

The American Psychological Association found teens reported stress levels way more than what is believed healthy. Coping with stress is crucial as it can take a toll on health, mental wellbeing, and academic success. Practice stress-relieving habits such as getting enough sleep and eating well. Visualizing different scenarios like finishing an assignment with good grades or scoring higher on a test are motivating. Don’t forget to exercise and meditate regularly as physical activity keeps negative thoughts at bay. 

➜ 4. Practice time management

With the abrupt transition to online education, students are bound to get carried away with things like TV, social media, and family at home. Manage your distractions by deleting or blocking time consuming apps. Another effective technique is time-boxing, which breaks down daily tasks into sets of time periods. Stay on track with deadlines and avoid procrastination. For all achievements, reward yourself to boost motivation and confidence. 

➜ 5. Ask for more interactive online classes

Lack of interactive online classes without consistent communication can increase distraction and decrease motivation. Tell your teachers you want to integrate more real-time interaction during class. Teachers can facilitate group activities or projects that allow students to meet online. No one wants to stay online the whole day, listening to monotonous lectures or reading PDFs and slides. Ask for more creative or brainstorming sessions where students have to conceptualize and visualize topics from different perspectives. Give regular feedback about your experiences. 

Academic burnout is a real problem but can be taken on with simple and effective measures. Take action and responsibility for your work ethic but don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Remember, we’re all in this together! 

Read more on how you can stay motivated with online learning!