How to Help Students Experiencing Anxiety and Burnout

How to Help Students Experiencing Anxiety and Burnout

Tuesday, 02 March 2021 01:39

As COVID-19 cases continue to decline throughout Michigan, we are looking forward to ending the school year strong. Even though we have been fortunate to maintain in-person classes since August, this has been a challenging year for all parents and students. Whether they are learning remotely or in the classroom, the spring semester always seems to have due dates that loom over students. For students prone to anxiety, the end of the year can feel overwhelming, leading to the potential for burnout. Here are some important tips for identifying signs of anxiety and burnout, and how parents can help. 


What are the signs of anxiety and burnout?

It is easy to mistake the signs of anxiety as simply worry and stress. However, if your child is suffering from anxiety, it will not be something they can just “get over.” While everyone will likely experience episodes of it, some will suffer from an anxiety disorder. The Mayo Clinic discusses anxiety disorder as, “Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.”

Even as of 2018, a study by the Child Mind Institute found that anxiety in children has increased 17% since 2008. We can only assume that number has increased even more in the last year. 30% of all children will be affected by anxiety at some point in their lives, but most will receive no treatment. 

Burnout is similar and a potential contributing factor to anxiety. Per Binghamton University, “Academic burnout can be defined as a negative emotional, physical and mental reaction to a prolonged study that results in exhaustion, frustration, lack of motivation and reduced ability in school.”

Some signs indicating anxiety and burnout include:

  • Excessive exhaustion and fatigue
  • Ongoing issues with insomnia
  • Frequently clenching their jaw and grinding teeth
  • Struggling to find the motivation to do schoolwork
  • Poor diet and nutrition habits
  • Irritability with family, friends, and teachers 
  • Poor performance on school assignments, especially those on which they do not typically struggle

If your child exhibits one or more of these signs, it is important for parents to take them seriously. It will not be helpful to simply ask your child to calm down or get over it. You will need to take an active role in helping your child find relief from anxiety and burnout. 

What can parents do about anxiety and burnout?

1) Consider seeking a diagnosis and help.

While many students will experience some anxiety during their school years, if they are experiencing any of the signs listed above, it could be indicative of something more serious. Rather than attempt to diagnose it yourself, it is wise to seek the help and advice of experts.

2) Help set good goals for students.

The feeling of falling behind can contribute to anxiety and burnout. To help them avoid that feeling, it is important to help your children set good goals for how they will study and meet deadlines. While this is best done at the beginning of the school year and each new semester, it is essential to reevaluate as you go, especially if your child is feeling pressure to keep up.

3) Establish a calendar and help students stick to it.

As you set goals, many children will benefit from seeing those visually on a calendar. Your role as a parent is to help your child stick to the calendar. However, at the same time, if your child is struggling with anxiety, the calendar full of due dates may feel oppressive. Consider adding fun activities and goals to the schedule, and make sure you reevaluate often.

4) Ask teachers for help and communicate frequently.

Your teachers want to help your child succeed. If your child is struggling with anxiety, they will be able to help. Whether it is study sessions to help master a topic or subject or potentially adjusting assignment due dates, your child’s teachers need to know if they are struggling with potential burnout.

5) Practice proper nutrition and exercise.

Believe it or not, diet and exercise can have a significant impact on anxiety and burnout. Make sure your child is eating nutritious food and getting plenty of exercise. This will help alleviate stress and is vital and quelling feelings of anxiety.

6) Make sure your students take breaks.

When setting goals and putting dates on calendars, it is easy to forget to factor in frequent breaks. If your child feels like they are behind, breaks can seem counterintuitive. However, every 45 minutes to an hour, your child should get up, exercise, and, if possible, go outside.

7) Facilitate rest and sleep.

While the temptation will often be to stay up as late as possible to accomplish assignments, it is your role as a parent to help facilitate rest and sleep for your child. Without it, you can be almost certain that feelings of anxiety and burnout will be exasperated.

At St. Paul Lutheran school in Northville, Michigan, we are committed to making sure our students have every opportunity to grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. With small class sizes and compassionate faculty, we are often able to identify the signs of anxiety and burnout. If you would like to know more about the advantages of your child attending a private Christian school in Northville, contact St. Paul Lutheran School.