College humor is laughing about how stressed out you are and how you’ve been running on empty for the entire semester, if not your entire college career. Chronic stress in college students is often overlooked because in the long run, your hard work will pay off, even if it means sacrificing your mental health in the meantime. For many struggling students, they get caught up in the vicious cycle of stress and bad habits and worry that they will burnout before they graduate, let alone before they enter their desired career field. While the phrase burnout is seen as a negative stereotype, the World Health Organization just classified it as a medical condition, referring to chronic workplace stress. This validates the struggles many young adults experience that make them question their self-worth and qualifications in a specific field.
What is Burnout?
While burnout is intended to be exclusive to the workplace rather than other areas of one’s life, the symptoms are relevant in an academic setting as well. Stress at work and school is inevitable with deadlines, projects, and evaluations, but burnout occurs when someone is struggling to manage how that stress affects other areas of their life.
Its main features include:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
How does it relate to young adults?
This generation of college students are part of a mental health epidemic. Whether this is due to the increase in social media or a decrease in stigma about mental health, rates of depression and anxiety have increased significantly in recent years. As they have been given more opportunities and resources to stay connected globally, attend higher-level education, and specialize in more difficult areas, young adults are feeling the pressure of these higher expectations. Stress during college is inevitable. It’s the anxiety around what comes next that can feel overwhelming, as career paths aren’t always as linear as they used to be. While this provides comfort for some who like to explore opportunities, it leaves others feeling directionless. The fear of burnout is on many young adult’s minds.
How to Help
Perfection is impossible. While high expectations keep some people motivated, unrealistic expectations lower one’s self esteem and ability to take pride in their accomplishments.
Know when to take a break. Young adults aren’t always aware of their limitations and if they are, they struggle to listen to parts of themselves telling them to slow down.
Evaluate short-term goals. If the vicious cycle of stress and bad habits are getting in the way of reaching their personal goals, it is important to reconsider how realistic they are in the moment. While they may remain long-term goals, their mental health should come first.
Find activities that renew a sense of purpose. Chronic stress can affect one’s ability to enjoy things you were once interested in. Adventure therapy can help rebuild your confidence and enthusiasm about what life has to offer.
BlueFire PulsaR can help
BlueFire PulsaR is a co-educational wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-28. This program addresses emotional, social, and behavioral problems in struggling young adults. Adventure therapy, wilderness ventures, equine therapy, academic opportunities and “family spark” are used to help students open up and look at their life. From there they are able to experience growth and adopt healthy self-management skills. This program is dedicated to helping students regain a better sense of the world around them while addressing their emotions and needs head on. We can help your family today.
For more information about chronic stress and burnout among young adults, contact us at 1 (844) 413-1999.