How do you get over burnout?

So unfortunately for myself, I found out about WKStats very early into my journey, and I think that has been to my disadvantage. Since I screwed up enough kanji for Level 10 that I couldn’t go through to the next level with my last review, I’m a little bummed at myself, looking at the charts and seeing my timed charts going higher and higher, my average getting longer and longer. Am I being a little too self-critical, or is this something that other people struggle with?


Too self-critical. It’s a marathon and takes a looot of time. So one level that takes 10 days longer is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I would recalibrate my expectations and try to supplement wanikani with other work you do for Japanese. If you have other things outside wanikani which with you can motivate yourself (e.g. reading a book, working through a grammar guide etc.) and feeling the improvements you make with the actual language, maybe the 4-5 days lost won’t hurt as much anymore.

Not that it isn’t frustrating to miss the perfect level up, but honestly it isn’t even 1/10th as important as it might feel to you right now.


Too self-critical – although, admittedly, this is also something that a lot of people, myself included, still struggle with! So, technically both! :sweat_smile:

How I dealt with burnout? Slowing right, right down. More specifically, adjusting my overall pace so that it was both a) sustainable over a long period of time (i.e. slower than I had been going), and b) comfortable enough that I could regain my sense of enjoyment and fun and interest in studying Japanese for the purposes of learning Japanese – rather than the somewhat artificial goal of advancing through the WaniKani levels as quickly/‘efficiently’ as possible.

So, my approach is now: Is it too much, too fast, overwhelming? Slow down. Is it too hard, too many mistakes, frustrating? Slow down.

Indeed, there is a forum post/group for folks who want to try this approach, called :durtle_hello: Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route :turtle:. If you’re feeling a sense of burnout already, you may want to check it out.

TL;DR: I’d say it’s definitely not a ‘sprint’, but for me it’s not even a ‘marathon’; instead, it’s a ‘pleasant stroll’ in a lovely park.

By the way, on wkstats, don’t focus on your average. Instead focus on the “Typical Level-up”, aka the “Median” time on a level. It is much more stable and less prone to ‘outliers’ throwing it off, such as if you have a bad or busy week, or if you go on a vacation forgetting to turn on Vacation Mode.

Think of the median as simply: One half of the numbers are below the median, and one half are above the median. It’s the ‘half-way’ point if you were to list all of the numbers in a list and pick the one right in the middle position. That way, if you end up taking a 1 year burnout-recovery break (for example), that will just tack on a 365 at the end of your list of numbers, but the middle number will still be representative of your overall/typical time on a level,


Just spam the recent mistakes until you get near 100%. Many problems solved.

Also question why you are trying to go fast, unless you get a large portion of immersion as well learning kanji to later forget them seems like a waste when they can be cemented alongside immersion on the way.

I would aim to get atleast twice the amount of immersion I spend on SRS daily.

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I appreciate everybody that left something here! I currently am supplementing my college course with WK, so although I very much have passed the college class in kanji knowledge, I think it might just be a problem with my therapist and my general way of learning haha

I can definitely see the analogy of it being a marathon or a pleasant stroll, I think especially recently I have been inspired merely by having more things I know, so it might be a good idea to take a second, realize my reason for doing all of this besides just for the sake of knowing Japanese. I never really considered that so perhaps that might be part of my problem.

Again, thank you! It definitely helps me not feel a little stupid as I did when I wrote the post before haha


I wish I could find the video, but there’s an Olympic marathon runner who talked a bit about her workouts. She said that she only ever felt great about her running in one-third of her workouts. The rest she either felt fine about or thought had gone horrible. The interviewer asked her how she got through the workouts where she felt horrible, and she said, “Because I know I’m that much closer to having an amazing one.”

OP, I’m really sorry you feel burned out and frustrated! That sucks! Just keep in mind that the good days are coming, the days you feel like an absolute expert at your kanji and know you are going to finish Wanikani. Take a little break, and then get back in the saddle and keep reviewing! You can do this!


Haha, I think now that you mention that, I think I should just watch like a couple of hours of inspirational videos, get super inspired, and hit the Crabigator with as much ferocity as I can muster.

I appreciate the words of affirmation!!

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Totally agree with everyone else. Take a break if you need to. I had burned myself out and then my job got VERY busy over the summer. I dropped Japanese completely for 3 months. I realized that, despite the priority I give it, learning Japanese IS still a hobby. It’s okay to take a break or slow down. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. I’ve done much better since coming back to it in early September.

You can also just try doing some different ways of studying. Want to read a chapter of manga even though you’ll be bad at it? Go for. Want to try to translate a song? No one’s stopping you. It’s alright to dabble in a bunch of Japanese stuff. Efficiency is over rated.


I can agree with immersion, I just have felt a little silly about it for some reason. I am trying to play through Persona 4 Golden right now which has been enjoyable, I just usually justify not doing it because “oh well I have enough time for reviews but I don’t have an hour to sit down and play through this as well as try to break grammar down enough”. Maybe I just need to like… stop giving myself excuses? For like enjoying and having fun with the language?

Honestly this thread has made me realize that I might need to go to my weekly therapy session and tell them “so learning Japanese represents the problems with my psyche emotionally” LOL


Could it be an efficiency issue? Where you feel like doing an informal study isn’t real studying? That was the issue I had at least. I felt like if I wasn’t keeping up with my SRS all the time that I was doing a bad job and “letting myself down” in a way, which is utter nonsense.

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Lmao, this is way too relatable. There’s something about tackling a huge, multi-year project that makes us notice all the ways we shoot ourselves in the foot.

If it’s any help, one thing that got me through a lot of slow/frustrating study days was remembering that Japanese is just one goal out of many. I also have goals to get enough sleep, have a social life, have fun, etc. Even if I didn’t get far with my SRS, I could check if I made progress on those other goals, and be happy about that. If I found something that helped two goals, like having fun and learning Japanese, that was a bonus. It’s ok if it’s not maximum efficiency for one single goal, because you’re juggling several.


Yes, absolutely. Learning Japanese takes years and years, so in my opinion the point is to have fun on the journey, not to try to grind through as fast as possible in the attempt to reach the destination first before having any fun. This comes in two parts: (1) arrange the “work” parts of studying so that they’re at a sustainable and enjoyable pace, and (2) if you’re already at the point where you can do some things in Japanese and enjoy them, this is the definition of success, and you should prioritise doing those things – that’s the kind of thing that’s the reason you’re learning the language in the first place, presumably…


Seeing the stats will give you both critical motivation boosts but also destroy your dreams, stats are like investing in the stock market, tracking the day to day will drive you insane, but come back every few months (for stocks you should check every few years), and see what the rough guesstimation will be. I think I am too distracted with reading, watching, and playing in Japanese that I don’t care about the alleged finish date.

In regards to burn out, it is just a matter of being consistent not in quantity, but in quality. So keep doing reviews but don’t do any more lessons. Read one page instead of the entire volume, watch the first five minutes of a episode, and not 3 full ones. I find when I want to know what happens next I naturally start watching and studying regularly again.

Goals are important, but getting those micro goals done is a better use of your time and energy. While finishing WaniKani is a great goal, focus on getting to the next level and being content with that idea that when you finish you are going to know that level way better than if you got lucky and passed to the next set later. (Trust me, this is from personal experience).


Supplementing with immersion route isn’t bad at all, but indeed choose materials carefully – not too hard, but just as challenging. If possible, I would want accompanying audio for every sentences, like VN.

Kanji has to be encountered in the wild too, at least about inferring meanings and readings, of Kanji part. Conjunctions and collocations too, can be using Kanji.

I wouldn’t try to use max energy on Wanikani; limiting of number of reviews, or time taken, if I feel like it. Memorizing well is another good thing, but it also takes energy, as much as sometimes it can be better to trust the SRS.

For me, burnout takes various forms and has varying root causes. So, identifying why I feel that way (usually a combination of external and internal dynamics) enables me to find a solution. With WaniKani in particular, there have been several bumps along the road… but they haven’t completely derailed my (overall) progress.

For me personally, during Levels 1-20 (or so), I felt very intent on maintaining a certain “average level” speed… so yeah, I struggled with it…

but later

This is inevitable, for the most part, because not only will you be learning and reviewing new levels, but your Master and Enlightened items are going to add large chunks of items to your review piles… sometimes in dumps of 30-50 items at a time!

I realized that the most important thing was that I found a pace that allowed me to organize the mental strain of kanji-learning in my brain… WaniKani is a tool to help you do this, but you also need to figure out how use the tool in a way that cohesively and effectively works together with your own mind.

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