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  • Daniela Arana, Editor-in-chief

The Final Countdown

The 5 stages of burnout

As the school year comes to an end, the last few weeks can be overwhelming. I can say from personal experience that by this point of the school year, students are holding on by a thread. By this I mean mentally, physically, and academically. Personally, I am mentally exhausted, physically defeated, and academically finished. I am guessing many students can relate.

Well, after researching a little on the topic, the previous symptoms mentioned can lead to the diagnosis of what is burnout. This can take many different forms depending on a person’s lifestyle; however, these are some ways it particularly affects students. So, what exactly is burnout and how can it present itself?

Burnout is characterized by the following 5 stages:

1. Honeymoon Phase: Initially burnout stems from bad coping mechanisms rooted in stress. The first phase of this, the honeymoon phase, presents itself when undertaking new responsibilities and feeling a rush of productivity and motivation before feeling the load of added stress and pressure.

2. Onset of Stress: This second phase of burnout focuses on the introduction of stress in one's life. This is where the decline begins; one becomes aware of the pressure and begins to lose control over certain aspects of their lives. Through this stage symptoms are more present; these include irritability, insomnia, high blood pressure, and anxiety, to name a few.

3. Chronic Stress: After becoming aware of the stress, through the third stage of burnout, this becomes more frequent. It also stops fueling motivation, instead of encouraging even more disinterest and procrastination, as well as social isolation and other heavier symptoms.

4. Burnout: The fourth stage is the actual burnout stage when the situation becomes critical and the symptoms reach a peak. Reaching this stage is cause for concern and one should seek help or intervention. This is because moving forward with one’s life normally while experiencing burnout at this stage is not possible and it is human nature to find ways to cope, which could be harmful rather than healthy.

5. Habitual Burnout: This final stage of burnout is even more concerning than the last. By this stage, burnout is not an experience but rather a lifestyle, and symptoms are no longer occasional instead they are habits. Once one reaches this stage, damage to one's mental, physical, and emotional health becomes inevitable.

Follow me on my next article exploring ways to fight/overcome burnout and regain the excitement for motivation and productivity

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