Do you remember the first time you worked from home?
The relief of not having to commute. The freedom of organising the day as you wish to. The pleasure of being home “early” and spending more time with your family.
Commuting was a clear moment between work and home. Other small gaps during the day, such as lunchtime, coffee or even the school run acted as psychological breaks. Without those small transitions, you have little opportunity to distance yourself from the continuous flow of things impacting your workspace, your home space and your headspace.
When everything (kids, work and life) happen at the same place, how to stay sane, healthy and productive?
Read those tips to avoid work from home burnout
What does work from home burnout look like?
At a physical level, you are overall drained and tired. You find it difficult to keep a focused mind. Your productivity is down. You procrastinate more than usual and sometimes feel inefficient.
Obviously, your work boundaries are blurry: you write emails at any time of the day. And/or night. And/or week-end.
In your emotional space, you experience feelings of isolation, sometimes anxiety for no reason. You noticed a lack of distancing towards usual events, and find it difficult to deal with any kind of frustration.
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Avoid work from home burnout by managing your energy
2020 has been emotionally draining on many people around the world.
We’ve all heard of a “something”, big and scary, looming: economic crisis, job losses, “second wave” to name a few. Such a daunting perspective is enough to put you in survival mode. And trick your mind to believe that what does matter is to keep working as much as you can.
But mind and body are not machines. There are three non negotiable needs to maintain a decent “working state”: water, food and sleep/rest. And a tired body -by extension a tired brain- are a source of physiological stress.
If a long break sounds complicated those days, micro-breaks during the day are a must to remain productive and avoid work from home burnout. And easy to implement: go for a walk. Prepare a cup of coffee. Call a friend. Or try those 5 minute mindfulness rituals.
Dealing with cognitive overload
If you work long hours and consider scrolling your phone as a break, you are a good candidate for cognitive overload.
In many ways, the brain is like a computer processor: if there’s too much info to process for its “working memory”, it bugs. Result? You can’t focus, clarify your ideas and can even get anxiety as a result of it.
What to do? Ideally, stop engaging with your thinking mind for some time and switch to creative activities. Cook, go for a walk, exercise. Ideally, do yoga or meditate.
If you really can’t? Then ask yourself that simple question: what’s important – now? Not later today, not tomorrow of the next month. Right here, right now. And start from there.
Respond, don’t react!
Emotional intelligence works beyond team leading or building positive relations.
People with high EQ know how to distance themselves when a situation shows up because they learned to make a difference between reaction and a response.
Both at work and at home, you have a choice not to live in our emotional reality. You have a choice to take a deep breath before you say or do anything and empower yourself to respond from a place of maximum brain output. Such a simple habit can go a long way when it comes to balancing your emotional state and avoid work from home burnout
Embrace the new social to avoid work from home burnout
One positive effect of the pandemic was the revival of that part of ourselves who wanted to care for others. Be it by calling friends and family more frequently, checking in your neighbours, or simply valuing the people who hold the jobs that are here to serve us every day.
Helping is a fantastic mood booster. How? Could be simply to listen. Could be to ask how people feel.
Those strange times do take a toll on everyone. Helping out a colleague who’s coming close to work from home burnout is not only giving a hand. It’s being part of a community who cares.
The pandemic is one of the most disrupting events of our time. Something no one was prepared for.
Lockdown was not a sort of gigantic holiday. For many, it was a time where they had to juggle the multiple aspects of life in a single, small space. And yes, anxiety at work became real.
If you want to avoid work from home burnout, then it’s time to review your personal boundaries and do your best to set a limit to what you can realistically tolerate. By doing so, you have a clear view of your desires and needs. You have a clear path to approach relationships. And you have a choice to say yes to what you want and no to what you don’t want!
Do you enjoy working from home or not? Share your story in the comments!