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Battling burnout- top tips from the expert

Whether it’s exams, over-exertion or contemplating the general state of the world, periods of unrelenting stress can lead us to a complete mental and physical exhaustion known as burnout. Burnout is common and may look different in different people. Some of the signs you may be experiencing burnout include:

  • Getting sick more often
  • Headaches
  • Sleep issues
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling depressed and worthless*
  • Losing interest in things we normally enjoy

If you think you may be experiencing burnout, there are plenty of simple things you can do to help you feel better again. Professor Kathryn Nicholson Perry is ACAP’s Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching, and she’s shared some of her top tips for battling burnout:

  1. First up, get the foundations right. Are you getting enough sleep, nutritious food, water, exercise and fun things that bring you pleasure? These are the bases for mental and physical wellbeing.
  2. Be firm with boundaries. If something isn’t a priority or important to you, simply say no. If you’re not sure or you want more time to think, don’t respond to requests straight away, just say you’ll think about it and let them know.
  3. Be kind to yourself. We’re often tougher on ourselves than we would be to others. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend in a similar situation and take the advice you’d give to them.
  4. Exercise control. Where you can have control, use it. Deciding for yourself where you focus your energies will help you beat any overwhelm and make you more likely to be able to meet your own needs.
  5. Speak out. Burnout is common. Sharing your experiences with the people around you will help you feel less alone. It will also give others a chance to support you until you’re feeling better, and mean they come to you for support if they find themselves in burnout.

Finally, for some people burnout can be a warning that something in your environment needs to change (work, relationships, social media consumption). Take time to consider these factors and whether you need to make some more permanent shifts long-term.

*If burnout is making you feel depressed or suicidal, it’s important to seek professional help. You can get professional help from:

  • A GP who can refer to relevant specialists
  • The ACAP clinic – a free telehealth service you don’t need a referral for
  • In a crisis situation – Lifeline 13 11 14

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