Academic burnout is the feeling of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion as a result of overworking. Academic burnout is the byproduct of teaching overload, balancing teaching with research and grading responsibilities, and neglecting personal elements of one’s life to prioritize academic duties. In 2019, the World Health Association officially recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon. Signs of burnout include: fatigue and inability to focus, trouble sleeping, pervasive anxiety, lack of motivation, and physical problems like headaches and backaches.
Academic burnout refers to feeling overwhelmed and overworked within higher education. Academic burnout is the culmination of several factors which lead to heightened stress. Educators who experience academic burnout should seek ways to reduce the physical and mental strain they experience during the work day. Such activities might include taking regular breaks outside of teaching, drinking extra water and understanding the source of stress. For example, a faculty member who experiences academic burnout as a result of heavy grading commitments might dedicate an hour per day to assessing student work over a week-long period. Faculty can also take steps to ensure they balance academic tasks with personal hobbies that bring them joy—such as journaling, spending time with family and prioritizing physical activity.