Tips for students experiencing burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic


Author: Katie Gdula, Wellesley College, and Intern at Origin Tutors

Although 2020 has passed, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the social and emotional health of students continuing online school this year. The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine provides hope that the social distance regulations will be lifted eventually, but there is still a significant amount of time before things return to “normal.” The pressure to stay motivated in school, and extracurriculars, can cause people to experience stress, anxiety, and burnout. It is important to manage these emotions for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Below are some simple activities and things to keep in mind while dealing with burnout.

1. Set small goals, daily
Setting specific goals every day can help with productivity and staying motivated during long periods of isolation. It is important to be realistic with your goals and keep in mind that it is normal to feel overwhelmed at times. Avoiding burnout requires an understanding of the circumstances and adjusting expectations. However, academic responsibilities are a legitimate stressor, and school work cannot be avoided. Committing to completing small tasks every day will prevent assignments from piling up and becoming more daunting in the long run.

Improving mental wellbeing is just as important as improving in school. In fact, academic success is correlated to positive mental health.

2. Designate time in your day for self-care
Everyone has different preferences when dealing with stress. Exercise, meditation, socializing and creative expression are all examples of healthy and valid ways to avoid burnout. Selfcare is a deeply personal practice, and it looks different for individual people. If you have a hobby or activity that works as a stress-reliever, it is important to incorporate that into your daily routine. If you do not have something specific that helps with stress, set time aside to try new things. Improving mental wellbeing is just as important as improving in school. In fact, academic success is correlated to positive mental health.

3. Try virtual study sessions with friends
While we all wait in anticipation for the COVID-19 vaccine, social distancing guidelines are still in place. A great alternative to in-person class is virtual study sessions with friends and classmates. This kind of virtual meeting can be a form of accountability for you and your peers. Designating time to study with others can prevent procrastination as well as build more meaningful connections with your peers. Learning online can be lonely, but the ability to communicate virtually can help build community during times of social isolation.

4. Be patient with yourself
Managing expectations for yourself can be an important step in avoiding burnout. Sometimes there are days you will feel less productive, or less motivated. Instead of dwelling on these moments, it is more helpful to acknowledge the circumstance we are all working in, and allow yourself to feel unmotivated or unproductive. However, if these feelings lead to an inability to accomplish your goals, they could be related to serious mental health problems. It is always a good idea to talk about your feelings and mental wellbeing with parents, friends, or mental health professionals.

When feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, it is always encouraged to ask for help. To learn more about different academic and tutoring resources, visit Origin Tutors at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *