Tips to Stay Healthy and Avoid Burnout While Working from Home
Is working from home wearing you out? This past year has been rough for many people, as they adjust to a “new normal” of working from home and caring for their families at the same time. Unfortunately, it can all lead to burnout. How can you keep from burning out and stay healthy and productive?
- Why do people suffer from work-from-home burnout? Burnout is not a new concept, but the pandemic has made it feel especially hopeless. We’re home so much, trying to maintain normalcy in a world that feels far from normal, and we have no idea when things will change. It all adds up to a level of stress that can be particularly devastating. When people can’t separate their work and home lives, it can lead to work-from-home burnout, because feeling like you’re always “on” can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
- How do you know if you’re heading towards burnout? Everyone is stressed right now, so what makes work-from-home burnout different from run-of-the-mill emotional turmoil and fatigue? Pay attention to these symptoms:
- Physical symptoms like tension, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, headaches, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal pain, or increased occurrence of illnesses
- Losing track of tasks or failing to finish work on time
- Mood changes, including irritability sadness, or anger
- Symptoms of depression like hopelessness, loss of interest in things you normally enjoy, or fatigue
- Feeling apathetic or discouraged in your work
- Having trouble sleeping because of insomnia or having trouble falling asleep
- Drinking more than usual
- If you think you’re suffering from burnout, there are some strategies you can try to help you recover. There’s no magical solution, and different things work for different people, so you might want to try a few of these and see what helps you.
- Find ways to take back control of your life. Some things are out of your control, so take control of what you can. Plan healthy meals and eat them on a schedule. Work at least 15 or 20 minutes of exercise into your day, and plan a bedtime routine that will help you calm down and fall asleep.
- Set some boundaries. Define your work hours and stick to your schedule. Don’t respond to emails or messages during your non-working hours. Take a 15 to 30 minute break in the middle of your work day. Talk to your boss about how you can make some changes that will help keep you motivated.
- Connect with people. It’s easy to feel isolated right now, but human contact is important, so make a point to reach out to others. Talking to someone on the phone might give you just the boost you need. It might also help you to talk to a therapist.
- Do something each day that’s just for you. Step away from your technology and have some “me time” every day. You might take a five-minute break in the morning and afternoon to do a quick mindfulness exercise, taking a few deep breaths and paying attention to your surroundings. Beyond that, though, set aside some time daily to do something you enjoy, like pursuing a hobby or playing with pets.
- You can also set yourself up for success with a better workspace. Physically separating your work and living spaces is ideal, so even if you don’t have a separate home office, make sure you have a dedicated workspace. Keep it tidy, and make sure it’s comfortable and well-organized. Leave your work area for lunch for further delineation.
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