How to Recognize Student Burnout

Students are experiencing burnout now more than ever, so, how can you recognize student burnout?  Burnout is the feeling of a combination of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion brought on from work [1]. It consists of two main dimensions: exhaustion, which results from a loss of energy and fatigue; and cynicism, which is described as a lack of emotional/cognitive involvement or being detached and feeling negativity towards your work [1]. This feeling does not just come from being overworked. It comes from a combination of high demands with little social support, and a lack of control in one’s work or school situation. Student burnout is a serious issue, as it can affect an individual’s level of functioning both in university performance, as well as future work-related performance [1]. This can be due to the excessive competitiveness of school and work environments. Students are constantly trying to maximize opportunities and experience to increase future success. Multi-tasking and being in a constantly demanding environment leads students to have limited time for themselves as they are over-focused on meeting all their goals. Working hard to achieve goals can be positive, however, when there are no social supports in place, and you are beginning to see negative effects on your wellbeing it can be quite harmful.

There are physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioural symptoms that you can look for to recognize if you are experiencing burnout. Some of these symptoms include experiencing chronic fatigue, impaired concentration or attention, anxiety, loss of appetite, depression, and anger to name a few [2]. If you are experiencing these symptoms or believe that you are currently in a state of burnout, it is time to seek help [3]. At the Therapy Centre, we have trained clinicians who can help you express your feelings and learn different strategies to manage stress and burnout. Stress management skills can be very useful and can help one learn new ways of coping while also recognizing one’s limits. With two offices located in Oakville and Hamilton, we are accessible from Mississauga, Milton, Halton Hills, Guelph Wellington and the greater Niagara Region.


1) Olwage, D., & Mostert, K. (2014). Predictors of student burnout and engagement among university students. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 24(4), 342-350. doi:10.1080/14330237.2014.978087
2) Carter, S. B. (2013, November 26). The Tell Tale Signs of Burnout … Do You Have Them? Retrieved from
3) Goodman, Michael,M.D., M.M.M., and Michele Berlinerblau M.D. “DISCUSSION: TREATING BURNOUT BY ADDRESSING ITS CAUSES.” Physician Leadership Journal 5.1 (2018): 41-5. ProQuest. Web. 15 Feb. 2019.