6 Tips to Avoid Burnout While Working From Home

Patricia Sá

Published on
6 Tips to Avoid Burnout While Working From Home

Hey there, fellow remote worker. Yes, you right there behind that laptop screen. Have you ever felt that the line between work and personal life gets a bit blurry from time to time? Or maybe you’re finding it extra harder to focus on the assignment at hand due to constant stress? Then you might be experiencing the early signs of burnout. You’re not alone. Millions of people had an abrupt shift from office to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a constant struggle to adapt to this new lifestyle as well as set healthy boundaries.

But what exactly is burnout? Mayo Clinic describes it as “a special type of work-related stress—a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” The sudden need to stay indoors, inability to disconnect from work and social distancing from cherished ones start to weigh on everyone. Perhaps now you even miss the long-gone daily commute that allowed you to decompress, and gave you space and time for your thoughts. This burnout sense can start creeping in without you even noticing it.

If you’ve found yourself procrastinating more than you should, neglecting your daily self-care routine, noticing that the quality of your work is declining or that you’re staying unusually silent during meetings, those might just be some of the initial signs of early burnout. But worry not. Today we’re here to give you some tips on how to avoid this physical and emotional exhaustion and help you make the most of your new remote routine.

Give yourself a break—or two 

While working from home, you’ll usually find yourself working more than you realize. From a project that took more of you than planned, or even meetings that ended up being twice as long as scheduled, it’s those small things that when piled up turn into a feeling of mental exhaustion. Taking a break during the workday is an assured way of keeping a solid and healthy schedule while staying productive and motivated. Going for an errand, a supermarket trip, or even taking a pilates class at home. We won’t judge anyone’s favorite breaks.

Reading by the fireplace

Take a break and maybe pick up a book or light up the fireplace by @travywild  

Don’t abandon your commute

Back in the old office working days, your daily commute was your own moment. It gave you time to mentally transition between your personal space and work and allowed you to decompress when going back home. Even if your current commute translates into moving from your bedroom to the living room, embrace it. Take that block of time just like you would if you were going to the office, and go for a walk, read a book or listen to that podcast you’ve been telling yourself you have to make time for.

If “it can wait until tomorrow,” then wait

If you’re that type of person that ends up working when you should be having dinner or all the way until you go to bed, this is for you. Working after hours might be a reality sometimes, especially with project deadlines. But what if there isn’t a deadline and you still find yourself doing it? That’s a burnout-inducing action right there. Ask yourself: “Will it change anything if I just pick it up tomorrow morning?” If the answer is no, then drop what you’re doing and go take care of yourself. Your health matters.

Enjoy a day off once in awhile

We know that taking time off usually translates into an ideal week or two getaway, but an efficient way of avoiding burnout is by taking mini-vacations from time to time. Add one or two days off to your weekend and take that time to yourself. You’ll see a lift in your spirits as soon as you start noting down all of the trip details! You can also opt for a staycation and start crossing out the list of activities you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time.

Carrying surfboard at the beach

Whether it's for a surfing getaway or staycation at home take time off by @yourbestlife.io 

Stay active, your mind and body will thank you for it

Working from home might not be the best scenario to boost your need to stay active and workout, especially if you’re not the type to workout every single day. But if you start experiencing any of the early burnout symptoms, schedule some time in the morning or end of the day to break a sweat and get your mind off work. If at-home exercise isn’t your thing, why not use that time to take a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood? This exercise routine should be something you’re comfortable with and makes you feel good, both physically and mentally. And the best part of it? You can check the fitness app on your phone and see more than just the amount of steps it takes you to move from the kitchen to the living room. Neat right?

Self-care, self-care, self-care 

Self-care is one of the most important things you should take into consideration to avoid the feeling of burnout. Making time for self-care is crucial, since it affects your mood, your spirit, and your physical and mental well-being. Start by thinking of all the things that bring you joy and list them down. That way, it’ll be easier for you to fit them in your calendar however you see fit. Also, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Making sure you have a regular sleep schedule, practicing mindfulness, and eating properly is a significant way to prevent burnout.

And most important of all, remember you’re only human

You’re not perfect, neither are you a superhero. Even if your mom says so. This also applies to everyone around you: your coworkers, your friends, and even those influencers you follow on Instagram that make you think they have it all figured out. Every day is a different day, and not all of them can be the best day ever. Our advice? Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re new to this remote work lifestyle—or even if you’re not yet still struggle— it’s okay. Fight back the urge to always be available, productive, or joyful and ignore that sometimes overly punishing voice in your head that tells you you’re not doing enough. Take your time to recharge and let others see you at your best.

Patricia Sá
Lisbon, Portugal
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