Burnout is a syndrome or simply state of chronic stress, generally characterized by exhaustion, depression, detachment, mental fatigue and feeling of negativity. Burnout can lead to lack of enthusiasm, feeling of ineffectiveness, helplessness, disillusionment and detachment from everyone. Burnout takes a toll on both physical and mental health and needs to be addressed carefully before it burns out all energy. Normally, we relate the feeling of burnout with adults given that they have to continuously juggle between office and work. But it is a known and proven fact that children can also be victims of burnout. In research by the American Psychological Association, around 31% of teens reported feeling overwhelmed as a result of stress and another 30% reported feeling depressed or sad. The intense pressure of school, academics, homework, sports and other activities leaves a lot for kids to handle. Coping with extra responsibilities can gradually lead to burnout in children without them even knowing it. It is the responsibility of the parents to find out if the child is suffering from burnout. If you do notice symptoms of burnout in kids, it is important to ease stress before it starts affecting their health.
Signs of Burnout to Look For in Kids
Normally, burnout is a term we associate with adults but recent research has shown that children experience it as well. Kids of all ages are seen suffering from burnout even though they are not able to understand it properly. Since they don’t understand it themselves, it is even harder to explain how they are feeling. However, there are certain signs and symptoms of burnout that parents can look out for in their kids
- Eating disorder: The most common sign of burnout in children is an eating disorder. They can either start overeating or seem to be completely losing their interest in food. Check carefully for the eating pattern in children.
- Emotional behaviour: Children, especially teens seem to show impulsive behaviour and show signs of emotional instability. They get extremely angry or sad at little things.
- Depression: Children often feel depressed and sad when they are burned out. They also have decreased attention and feel detached from everything and everyone.
- Anxiety: Anxiety for no particular reason is also a sign of burnout, so it is important to look for Anxiety in Children. See if they having problems relaxing or sleeping as well.
- Insomnia: Insomnia is another obvious symptom that indicates burnout in children. In case the child is unable to sleep at night or wakes up very easily and can’t fall back asleep he/ she may be suffering from burnout.
- Health problems: Physical pain especially pain in the neck or back is an indication of burnout as well. Other common health problems such as stomach-ache, dizziness and dryness of the throat and mouth also indicate burnout.
- Missing periods: Missing periods of a girl child is another indication of burnout. Burnout can lead to stress which can cause periods to miss. Although there can be other reasons for missing periods so look out for other reasons in combination with missing periods.
- Changed behaviour: Change of behaviour is typical in teens but in case the child is getting too much emotional or hyper, chances are that he/ she is burned out. Nervousness and anxiety are pretty obvious in such children and in worse cases, it can lead to risky behaviour as well. They might also pick up bad habits like smoking or drinking.
How to help a kid feeling burnt out?
Most children are unable to comprehend on their own that they may be burnt out and start acting out not knowing what is happening to them. As a parent, it is your responsibility to see that the child is not feeling burnout and if any symptoms appear visible, take measures to fix them. Here are some basic parental things you can do to reduce burnout in kids.
The first thing you need to do is be understanding of the problems faced by the child. Let them know that you are always standing beside them and help them with anything and everything they might need. Share their feelings, learn out what is stressing them and together find ways to reduce and overcome stress.
A healthy diet plays a crucial role in reducing stress and burnout in children. A diet with the proper amount of proteins, minerals, fat and carbohydrates is very important not just for a child’s growth but helps fight burnout too. Create a healthy dietary plan for and make sure your kid sticks to it.
Learn and teach the importance of taking a break. Children trapped between school and homework feel burnout and only a good fun break can help them feel relaxed. Include breaks between every task. It does not have to be very long, a quick one will do wonders as well as long as there is a break. And if anything, breaks help you be more productive because once you get fresh, you can focus better on things.
Keep aside work for a little while and allow the kids to have some fun from time to time. All work and no play can not only make kids dull but can also lead to burnout in them. Therefore, it is important to have some fun every now and then. The study is important and so is the responsibility of certain household chores but don’t forget that in between these tasks, having fun is equally vital too.
Sometimes, these measures seem just not enough to fix burnout in kids and especially teens. At such times, parents are advised to go for expert advice. At IIAHP Therapy Center, we have professionals who have been working with burnout kids for a long time. You can get in touch with our consultants and they can help your kids with their burnout problems.