There comes a time in every aspirant’s preparation phase when he/she feels like; that’s it! Aspirants can spend months and even years learning and memorizing all kinds of information and then end up tiring out. Moreover, in today’s competitive world, the stakes are high. One would want to make the most of all the time and resources poured into their preparation. This requires not a small amount of sitting down at the desk, which, sooner or later results in sleep deprivation, a bad diet, and generally, a lack of motivation.

Study burnout is a kind of exhaustion, both mental and physical, that is the result of the constant stress to perform well. And ironically, it can have detrimental effects on not only one’s performance, but your mental health and personal life as well.

What is burnout in general?
? It describes a severe stress condition that leads to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
? It makes it challenging for people to cope with stress and handle day-to-day responsibilities.
? People experiencing burnout may even adopt a pessimistic outlook toward life and feel hopeless.
? If left untreated, it can lead to serious physical and psychological illnesses like depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

What are signs of burnout?

? Exhaustion: Feeling physically and emotionally depleted.
? Isolation: they may stop socializing and confiding in friends, family members etc.
? Dissatisfied with the never-ending demands of preparation, people with burnout may fantasize about giving up.
? Irritability: tend to lose their cool more easily.
? Frequent illnesses: makes you more susceptible to colds, the flu, and insomnia, depression and anxiety.
? Feeling of hopelessness, anxiety, fear.
? No self-confidence.
? Lack of faith
? Inconsistency, unproductivity, inefficient, lack of concentration
? Become critical and cynical


Major Causes of Burnout

? Sense of losing self-control: The feeling of not being able to take decisions or make proper schedules can easily lead an aspirant to burn out.
? Larger than life expectations: when one starts preparing for the CSE they dream of building castles in the air. But once into the actual process of preparation, all the illusions starts falling apart.
? Feeling of not being enough
? Extremity of schedules
? Lack of positive support and motivation
? Imbalance in personal life

12 phases of Burnout:
? Excessive drive/ambition: too much ambition can lead to burnout.
? Pushing yourself to work harder
? Neglecting your own needs: You begin to sacrifice self-care like sleep, exercise, and eating well.
? Displacement of conflict: Instead of acknowledging that you’re pushing yourself to the max, you blame external factors.
? No time for non-study-related needs.
? Denial: Instead of taking responsibility for everything, you blame surroundings.
? Withdrawal.
? Behavioral changes.
? Depersonalization: Feeling detached from your life and your ability to control your life.
? Inner emptiness or anxiety.
? Depression. Life loses its meaning and you begin to feel hopeless.
? Mental or physical collapse.

How to prevent burnout?

how not to lose hope
Stress may be unavoidable, but burnout is preventable. Following these steps may help you thwart stress from getting the best of you:



For less active individuals like CSE aspirants, making a list of activities that require body movement and feel like a break or a reward is suggested, with the goal of adding in these activities for short periods 15–20 min twice a day.

Take days off

Three major tips focus on time away from studying: days off, limiting hours spent studying, and taking breaks while studying.

Limit study hours per day

The productivity of the time spent studying and the diminishing effect of learning as study hours lengthen should be focused upon.

Support system

Interact with family, friends, mentors, counsellors.

Dedicate time for fun

Operative conditioning can be applied to study strategies by brainstorming small rewards (a piece of chocolate, a short phone call to a friend) as well as larger rewards (watching a 30-min TV show, going to a coffee shop, reading for pleasure) that can be built into a study day when specific goals are met.

Eat well

Healthy meals can be combined for the majority of meals, with special meals saved as a treat or reward.

Minimize distractors and negative thoughts

Intrusion of distractions like smart phones, social networking sites etc into the sustained focus needed during the dedicated period should be avoided.

Sleep well

Since sleep disruption is one of the defining features of burnout, it is no surprise that a strategic and prioritized approach to maintenance of healthy sleep habits is recommended for burnout prevention.

Study with others

It is commonly understood that any tiresome activity can be made more enjoyable by sharing the experience with others but it is equally important to counter distractions.

Identify suitable study spaces

Enduring some distractions and type to practice blocking out the environment is helpful for students who are easily distracted as they train to replicate exam day conditions.

Recognize feelings of burnout are normal

It is important to realise that the emotional distress experienced by students during study is largely unrelated to their actual academic performance.

Create a schedule – and keep to it

Organize your study schedule so that you have ample time to familiarize yourself with the material and not feel like you have to rush through everything.

Be smart with what you study

All in all, your aim should be to study less but more effectively.

Find purpose

Question to self – “Why should I become an IAS officer”? Objectives and aims are one of the best sources of motivation.

Evaluate yourself regularly

Allocate sufficient time for testing through mock tests on a timely basis.

Focus on ‘now’ 

Invest thoughts in the present. While thinking about the failures in the past leads to depression, too many thoughts about the future will lead to anxiety.

Health is wealth

Knowledge is not enough to clear the IAS exam. The recruitment process is designed to test one’s endurance and discipline over a period of 2 years for which motivation is necessary.

Success is not absence of problem, it is overcoming problems. Be like a postage stamp, stick till you reach there.