Today’s high school students are facing a new set of challenges that previous generations simply did not. In addition to the pressures of getting into college, standardized testing, and the fear of being left behind, today’s teens are also struggling with a phenomenon known as burnout. High school students are dealing with what is often described as monotonous stressors that can leave them feeling exhausted, disconnected, and even depressed.
This type of stress stems from pressures that many students feel daily, including school performance expectations, peer pressure (especially online), academic stressors such as homework or AP classes, and outside commitments like sports and clubs.
Burnout is a state in which someone experiences chronic stress so often that it leads to exhaustion and feelings of helplessness. While this sounds like something reserved for adults only, it has become a common practice among high schoolers in recent years. Read on to learn more about why this is happening now and what you can do about it as a teacher or parent.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a state in which someone experiences chronic stress so often that it leads to exhaustion and feelings of helplessness. Students may feel stressed because of too much homework, exams, and after-school activities, or because of social pressure. With too much stress, the body responds by shutting down its resources.
This type of exhaustion is not just temporary but can last for months, even years. Burnout is more than being stressed out or feeling overwhelmed. People with burnout feel exhausted, hopeless, and as though they have no energy. They might also have low self-esteem and feel disconnected from others. Burnout can happen at any age, but it is a particular issue for students.
Why Are Students Experiencing Burnout Now?
Students are experiencing burnout now for several reasons. First, the landscape of high school has changed dramatically over the past decade. While most people grew up in a world where homework, extracurricular activities, and standardized testing were part of the normal high school experience, this does not hold for students today.
The past decade has seen an increase in homework and standardized testing, as well as an increase in pressure to get into selective colleges. This has created a new normal for high school students that some are simply not equipped to handle. It’s also important to note that today’s students are digital natives and have been educated in a world that has been shaped by technology.
As a result, they are more likely to spend more time engaging with social media platforms, smartphones, and other forms of technology than previous generations did. This can be a source of stress as these technologies can be extremely addictive.
Strategies to Help High School Students Manage Burnout
As a teacher or parent, you can help your students better manage burnout by being mindful of the following: –
Ask about extracurricular activities: Often, students who are overextending themselves are not doing so intentionally.
Balance homework and social time: Students should be given time to recharge and unplug from their devices.
Reduce academic stress: Teachers can help students avoid burnout by reducing homework and exam stress.
Teach resiliency: By helping students develop positive coping skills, you can help them better manage burn-out.
Take care of yourself
Teachers and parents play a crucial role in helping students navigate the challenges of high school. However, as adults, it is important that we also take care of ourselves. Studies show that when we’re feeling stressed out, we’re significantly less likely to be able to support our students. If you’re feeling stressed out, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself.
This means getting enough sleep, eating well, and taking time to unplug and relax. It also means being kind to yourself and taking time to recharge, even if that means taking a day off.
Teach your students how to look after their mental health
Adolescence is a critical time to lay the foundations for lifelong mental health. This is why it is so important for us to help our students navigate the challenges that come with this period of their lives. You can help your students develop stronger mental health skills by encouraging them to engage in the following practices:
Exercise: Exercise has been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and promote feelings of calm.
Connect with nature: Being in nature has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of belonging.
Spend time with friends and family: Having strong relationships has been shown to help lower feelings of anxiety and depression.
Practice gratitude: Studies have shown that gratitude can help lower stress levels and promote feelings of happiness.
Encourage a strong support system among peers and adults
When helping your students deal with burnout, encourage them to build a strong support system among their peers and adults. By connecting with adults who can be sources of support, students can receive the guidance they need to navigate challenges like burnout. –
Connect with peers: Connecting with peers who can provide support is key to helping students who are experiencing burnout. Peer circles can be helpful, as they allow students to share their experiences with others who are going through similar challenges.
Connect with adults: Adults should be sources of guidance for teens who are dealing with burnout. Teachers and parents, for example, should be willing to help students navigate the challenges they’re facing.
Create your support system: If you don’t have a strong support system among your peers and adults, create your own.
Burnout is real, and it’s something that students are experiencing today at an alarming rate. It’s important to remember that burnout is not a sign of laziness or weakness, and it’s something that everyone, even teachers, can experience. There’s no one way to prevent or address burnout, and every student will experience it differently.
The best thing you can do is be aware of the potential for burnout and be flexible enough to notice when it’s happening. Having an open and honest dialogue with your students about their stress levels will help you understand when they might be experiencing burnout.