Chad Crowson on How Teens Can Avoid Burnout

It's not just adults who are struggling with burnout.

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Burnout is a universal problem that affects Americans across all demographics. In a 2012-2017 poll done by Statista, over half of American adults admitted to experiencing burnout in some capacity. And the high-stress factors that lead to burnout don’t just start the minute you become an adult. Habits and lifestyle choices that can factor into high amounts of stress, often begin in high school. Burnout is defined as a feeling of chronic or high stress that creates physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. 

Before looking at ways to avoid burnout, it’s essential to identify some signs of exhaustion. Burnout can manifest in the following ways:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or obsessive thoughts
  • Headaches or Stomaches
  • Sudden fluxations in weight
  • Issues focusing
  • Unexplained intestinal issues

Burnout is not limited to the previously listed symptoms, but they are typical markers of chronic stress. The easiest way to combat burnout is by putting safeguards in place to lower your risk. Creating healthy coping mechanisms in high school not only enriches your high school experience but can enhance your future too. Below are a few tips to avoid burnout as a student.

Stay organized

Keeping yourself organized is a critical way to avoid burnout. A lack of organization can lead to missed deadlines, problems managing time, and accidentally overcommitting. These issues, in turn, can create more stress factors that can lead to a bigger problem. 

You can stay organized by keeping a planner! Not only have the options for paper planners grown, but apps like Google Calendar, Zenday, Fantastical 2, and Microsoft Outlook make staying organized even more accessible. You can enter in homework, due dates, work, rehearsals, sports activities, and any reminders into a planner to better facilitate your time. 

Get a healthy amount of sleep

The average American teenager gets around 7 1/2 hours of sleep. Although that may seem like a healthy amount, it’s recommended that you get 9 1/2 hours of sleep every night. A lot of brain development happens in your teenage years, and poor sleeping habits can alter your mood, weight, behavior, reaction time, academic performance, and stamina. The weight of sleeplessness is a substantial contributing factor to burnout.

You can minimize the risk factor of sleeplessness by putting the following habits into practice:

  • Go to bed before 11 pm. Setting boundaries on how late you stay up encourages you to stick to a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Minimize how much you use electronics before bed. The light emitted from electronic devices isn’t as harmless as you may think. The type of light that emanates from an electronic device is called blue light. Blue light can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. While you may be using a device to try and fall asleep, it actually lengthens the time it takes you to fall asleep and hurts your body in the long run.
  • Prep anything you need for the next day the night before. Prepping the night before allows for time to end your good nights rest on a positive note. Instead of disrupting your sleep cycle violently by running late or rushing in the morning, you can start your day at an even pace that allows the transition to run smoothly. 

Practice Saying “No”

One of the hardest habits to lose is the habit of saying yes too much. Saying yes to too many tasks can overwhelm you, clog your schedule, and add unnecessary amounts of stress. 

While saying no can make you feel like you’re letting people down, more often than not, you’re doing the best thing for everyone. Being able to say no to obligations not only protects you but allows you to give more to the commitments that matter the most. 

Burnout is a serious problem that is affecting more and more teenagers each year. If you are struggling with burnout, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to family, friends, and resources in your school or community. The more proactive you are about your stress levels, the more you can flourish now and in the future. 

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