Prevention Is Key: How to Avoid Teen Burnout

Tips to alleviate stress
four teens face a field and link arms and hands to form heart shapes in the air
Unsplash / Melissa Askew

Teen burnout is a state of stress in which teens lose motivation and their sense of self after becoming overwhelmed by their studies. It's a common phenomenon during exam season as teens feel the pressure to study non-stop and achieve highly. Signs of burnout include poor sleeping and eating habits, irritability, isolation and loss of interest in usual hobbies and pastimes. Parents should look out for these signs in their teens, but prevention is always better than a cure. With that in mind, here are three tips for avoiding teen burnout and alleviating study stress.

1. Encourage frequent breaks

While it's tempting to encourage teens to study as much as possible for exams, doing so can be extremely detrimental for their wellbeing and their education. It's important that teens have frequent short and long breaks from revision. Short breaks of 5 to 10 minutes every 20 to 25 minutes during study sessions can help with maintaining focus, and they have been proven to help the brain learn information. Long breaks give teens opportunities to socialise with friends, have fun with hobbies or burn off steam with exercise, all of which support mental wellbeing and alleviate stress.

2. Give teens opportunities to ask for help

It can be difficult for teens to admit when they need extra support. They may worry about letting down their teachers or parents, or fear they'll be accused of not working hard enough. By checking in with your teen regularly, you can remind them it's okay to ask for help and give them an opportunity to talk about where they're struggling. They may need some additional tutoring or support from teachers on a particular subject or topic. 

A girl sits with her schoolbag at the edge of a lake
Unsplash / Vadim Fomenok

In some cases, they might find it useful to simply vent about the pressures they're under to get it off their chest. By creating an environment in which teens can share their anxieties and worries, you can prevent them from bottling up their emotions until they feel overwhelmed and burned out.

3. Instil healthy diet, exercise, and sleep habits

Eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of good quality sleep are the cornerstones of good health. There's a myriad of studies and research projects that demonstrate the link between nutrition, exercise and sleep, and physical and mental health. It's important to encourage teens to maintain healthy habits in these areas and take care of themselves properly in order to keep stress and burnout at bay. 

Make sure they have access to nutritious meals and snacks, encourage them to exercise regularly, and try to have them maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Not only will this help to prevent burnout in exam season, but it will also instil good habits that will help them protect their physical and mental health throughout their adult lives.

Talk to teens about burnout to keep it at bay

The key to preventing teen burnout is to be honest with teens about the pressures they're under and the importance of managing stress. By maintaining an open conversation with them about this topic and stressing the importance of self-care, you can help them to prioritize their well-being and look after their mental health.


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