What is burnout?

  • Burnout is the result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress.  It is our body’s way of shutting down emotionally when it does not have the appropriate resources to manage chronic stress.

What are the signs and symptoms of burnout?

  • Fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, increased illnesses, loss of appetite, anxiety, anger, detachment, loss of enjoyment in things that bring you joy, pessimism, isolation, lack of productivity, apathy, hopelessness, irritability

How is burnout different than depression?

  • Depression and burnout can overlap.  Burnout can also lead to depression.  Many of the signs and symptoms are similar and the two conditions can be confused for one another.  While some of the physical and emotional symptoms of depression can look like burnout, other symptoms usually accompany depression, such as low self-esteem, deep sadness, and suicidal thoughts.

What do I do when I feel burned out?

  • Listen to your body and take a break – give yourself permission to say “no” to new things being asked of you, take a night off from social engagements, ask for an extension of a daunting deadline.
  • Make a to-do list – sometimes making a list of things to get done can help break things down in a way that feels more manageable and can also help identify things that are not as important and can be delegated or taken off your list.
  • Ask for help – We feel burned out when we don’t have adequate support around us.  Seeking support, talking with a friend, delegating tasks on your to-do list, or talking to a supportive figure in your life may help to make things feel lighter.

How to I prevent burnout in the future?

  • Setting boundaries - learning to say “no” before taking on more than you have the capacity to finish, spending less time with friends or family members who deplete your energy, proactively completing tasks that contribute to your wellbeing (decluttering your space, maintaining your car, attending all medical appointments, going to therapy, etc.).Engaging in self-exploration - Knowing yourself well enough to learn and discover what activities tend to reenergize and reinvigorate you, despite the stress in your life.
  • Seeking out social support - talking with friends, family, trusted professors, or advisors, and/or your therapist can make you feel less alone in navigating the stress in your life.

Want to talk more about this?

  • Consider making an appointment at the Counseling Center.  A counselor can help you to identify stressors in your life, learn better ways of managing them, and talk about how to set boundaries and engage in better self-care practice.  Stop by (HSB 206) or give us a call (610-519-4050) to make an appointment!


Free, confidential counseling is available at the University Counseling Center, 206 Health Services Building, 610-519-4050.



In an emergency, call Villanova Public Safety at 610-519-4444.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 988.