Recognizing the Signs of Burnout and How to Cope

As University students, we have come to hear about the term “burnout” in our everyday lives, however, what does it truly mean, and what can we do about it?

What is Burnout?

According to HelpGuide, Burnout has been described as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” This feeling tends to creep up on a lot of people within the colder months, when it gets darker out earlier, and assignments tend to pile up and seem out of control.

What are the symptoms of burnout?

Some symptoms of burnout include:

  • An overwhelming sense of exhaustion

  • Inconsistencies with sleep and eating routines

  • Feeling unmotivated to complete daily tasks

  • Isolating yourself from peers and others.

Burnout looks different for everyone, and can vary from minor symptoms to severe symptoms. It is always important to check in with yourself, and the WellU key can be a great way to do so. 

How to Cope with Burnout?

There are many ways to cope with burnout, such as:

  • Creating a daily routine that is simple enough for you to follow. 

  • Changing your environment—this can drastically improve your mood and motivation levels. 

  • Making plans with friends and family —this can allow you to take a break from your studies and give your mind a rest. 

  • Speak to a counsellor or medical professional—if you are feeling overwhelmed, seeking support from a professional like a counsellor, nurse practitioner, or doctor can be really helpful. 

Lakehead offers many resources in regards to mental health support. You can find these resources here

How Do Your Peer Wellness Educators Cope with Burnout?

As students themselves, Lakehead’s Peer Wellness Educators have encountered their own issues with burnout. Here are some ways that they cope with it: 

“When encountering burnout, I tend to try and set up my day to include some sort of both physical activity and mental relaxation, no matter how small or large these activities may be.” — Makayla

“I cope with burn out by scheduling in some time for breathing exercises and to relax.” —Logan

“I cope with burn out by setting a goal of myself to sleep 8 hours a night especially on weekends and setting some time aside for some extra self care such as eye masks and face masks.”—Virginie


- Makayla Foster, Peer Wellness Educator Lead