Stress and exhaustion

When there is too much going on in life, stress is a natural reaction. It may be either positive or negative. Positive stress helps you take care of everyday things with an energetic touch. Negative stress feels unpleasant and causes anxiety and distress. The body may react to stress by trembling, sweating or increasing the heart rate.

Stress is an individual experience, and different people find different things stressful. What is stressful to one person may be inspiring to another. Temporary and moderate stress may also be a positive resource since it improves your attentiveness and the ability to focus and perform.

Temporary and moderate stress may also be a positive resource since it improves your attentiveness and the ability to focus and perform.

In the experience of stress, it is key to determine if the stress is continuous or temporary. People can manage temporary stress better. The experience of stress also depends on the person’s tolerance, which varies by person. What is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.

Long-term stress uses up our resources, which is why it is important to identify your own symptoms of stress early on. When prolonged, stress may make you cry more often and cause irritability, insomnia, shortness of breath, difficulties in relaxing and stomach symptoms. If the feeling of stress is constantly disturbing your everyday life and negatively affecting your well-being, it is important to stop and think about how to change the situation. You can learn different ways of managing stress. Seeking discussion support may also be helpful in some cases. For example, stress related to studies can be discussed with the student health care professionals or the psychologists of your educational institution.

Long-term stress may turn into exhaustion

If there is too much going on at the same time, fatigue and stress may develop into exhaustion or burnout. For example, if you are studying or working hard and having difficulties in your relationships at the same time, and hobbies take up a lot of your time, you may not have enough time to recover and rest. Normal fatigue can be cured by sleeping, but exhaustion and burnout often require long-term rest and changes to everyday life. This may involve giving up heavy sports training for a while or taking a (sick) leave.

Burnout can happen to anyone regardless of age or status – they may be an upper secondary school student or a parent, or anything else. Burnout does not necessarily involve physical fatigue; instead, it may appear to the person themselves or to others as mental fatigue, such as melancholy, irritability or negative thinking. A very exhausted person may also naturally seek to be alone, and they may not have the energy to maintain social relationships.

You may get exhausted even if you are not working or studying. You can also get exhausted and tired because you have nothing meaningful to do and you have too much leisure time.

Sometimes, we may think our tiredness may go away if we just keep going. We may think that our pressure or stress will get easier if we run away from it, in a way. Often, however, we get even more tired, which may lead to exhaustion and burnout. When exhausted, it is important that you take care of your well-being through sufficient sleep and nutrition and enjoyable activities. 

If the exhaustion is not reduced through proper sleep and slowing down, you may wish to contact a professional. If your exhaustion is related to your studies, contact the psychologist of your general upper secondary or vocational school. You can find the psychologist’s contact information on your school’s website. Many universities have study psychologists who can help with matters related to coping with the studies. Students in universities can also contact the Finnish Student Health Service. All young people aged over 13 living in Helsinki can use the services of Mieppi