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  • Rotem Stark

NAVIGATING BACK-TO-SCHOOL ANXIETY AND AVOIDING BURNOUT


Girl anxious about school work. needing anxiety therapy
School anxiety can lead to burn out

Starting a new school year can be an extremely exciting time. You get to reunite with your friends, participate in extracurricular activities, learn new things, and have memorable experiences.


In the midst of these exhilarating moments is the back-to-school anxiety that can be experienced due to academic and social pressures. It is common for many students to experience school anxiety and even though some stress may be important to feel motivated to accomplish their goals, heightened and prolonged stress can take a toll on one's mental and physical health. Left unaddressed, it can evolve into burnout. This article will explore back-to-school anxiety, burnout, and what we can do to prevent them.


Identifying school anxiety and burnout

Returning to the classroom can bring up a mix of emotions. The attempt to balance academic pressures, work, family and your social life can lead to burnout. Burnout is more than feeling tired or overwhelmed. It is a stress condition where people experience mental and physical exhaustion and a loss of interest that can drain the joy and satisfaction you might have for school and your job, leading to a decline in your academic performance.


This tends to be the result of facing ongoing stress and/or frustration, leaving you with no room for relaxation. Other signs of burnout include isolating yourself from friends and family, irritability, change in sleep, and persistent fatigue. There are many reasons why people may be experiencing back-to-school anxiety or be in the early stages of burnout. Some common ways that returning to school can contribute to burnout are:


1. Time management challenges

Having to try and balance your classes, workload, and social life can be greatly overwhelming. These time management difficulties may be displayed in your struggle with procrastination and leaving work until the last minute. This can heighten your school anxiety and increase your risk for burnout.


2. Worries about the future

Concerns about your academic career, competitiveness, and thoughts about unpredictable future events can create significant stress for students.


3. Lack of self-care

Due to the heavy workload students may have, it may lead to them neglecting self-care practices like relaxation and exercise. Having a lot on your plate can leave little room for people to recharge.



How to avoid and overcome burnout

It's essential to recognize these signs early so that you can implement effective intervention strategies, prioritize self-care, and seek support when needed. Fortunately, there are many strategies that can be used to help people navigate school anxiety and possibly reduce the risk of burnout. Some of these include:


1. Set Realistic Expectations:

It is imperative to align your goals with your capabilities. Remember that perfection is not objective. Students need to learn how to manage their energy, set achievable academic and personal goals, and prioritize finding a balance in order to increase their well-being and performance.


2. Make time for hobbies:

Finding and making time for hobbies and extracurricular activities that you enjoy provides you with an outlet for stress and a break to look forward to after a stressful day.


3. Seek professional help:

If anxiety or burnout becomes overwhelming, you may want to consider seeking psychotherapy. This will provide you with anxiety therapy, and resources to gain the strategies needed to manage your symptoms and better your well-being.


As we get more into fall, it's crucial to acknowledge and address the realities of back-to-school anxiety. Recognizing the signs of burnout and fostering a supportive environment can help students feel comfortable to express their concerns. This empowerment to face their challenges can lead to them wanting to seek the support and strategies needed to become more resilient. Prioritizing your mental health and maintaining a healthy balance between school and personal life can help you thrive both inside and outside the classroom.


For more information on school anxiety and burnout, book a 15-minute consultation with Stark Wellness Clinic or contact us.



Until next time,

Rotem Stark, Mpsy, RP, Stark Wellness Clinic



Komen


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