Signs you're dealing with working from home burnout
Submitted by Laura Shepherd on 15/11/2020 - Senior Marketing Manager
We’ve all heard the saying, “leave work at work” — a cautionary reminder to maintain a healthy work-life balance. But what happens when your home becomes your workspace?
Increasingly, workers around the world are going and possibly staying, remote. And although it’s great to avoid that often infuriating commute and swapping your office clothes for tracksuits, there can be some unintentional consequences associated with blending home life and work.
Long hours of virtual employment can lead to feelings of isolation, exhaustion, and general burnout. If you’ve noticed that your job stress is bleeding over into your daily life, learn the symptoms of work from home burnout and what you can do to restore a healthy balance.
1. You’re Exhausted
The computer’s turned on, and you’re ready to get started on a work assignment. As you struggle through the task, a thick mental fog keeps you from getting anything done…
When working from home, exhaustion can manifest itself in many different ways. You may often feel tired, have difficulty completing household chores, or struggle to fall asleep at night despite wrestling grogginess throughout the day. Stress, overextension, poor diet, and lack of quality sleep can all lead to exhaustion. If you want to combat your extreme fatigue, try these tips:
Evaluate your diet. If you find that you’re constantly snacking on sugary or fatty foods, try trading them out for more healthy options or smaller, more nutritious meals.Try and fit in those 5 a day!
Set a bedtime and stick to it. Maintaining healthy sleep habits and a bedtime routine is essential to combating exhaustion, so avoid the temptation to hit watch that 7th episode of Netflix in a row and get to sleep at a time that gives your body and mind enough time to rest.
Make time for exercise. A quality workout releases endorphins that help boost your energy levels and reduce stress. Whether it’s jogging, aerobics, yoga, or even a daily stroll around the local neighbourhood, consider making time for this amazingly beneficial activity.
Ditch the caffeine in favour of water. Caffeine can give you a jolt of energy followed by an equally powerful crash! Additionally, caffeinated drinks can act as diuretics — leading to tiring dehydration. Cut back on your caffeine intake, up your water and see how it impacts your energy/exhaustion levels.
Feeling low and grumpy is no fun for anyone and working from home can exacerbate the feeling. If you find yourself lashing out at the people you love, experiencing emotional ups and downs, or losing patience with co-workers while you’re on the clock, you may be “feeling the blues.”
This moodiness can stem from stress, anxiety, or being left alone with negative or self-deprecating thoughts for too long. If any of these mental burnout signs sound familiar, try implementing these tips as often as possible.
Spend time with friends, even if it’s virtual. Consider organizing Zoom happy hours, watch parties, or simply catching up with a friend over a call or a socially distanced walk. In short, make yourself more available to those who make you feel good.
Focus on self-care. If you don’t prioritise your own wellbeing, who will? Every day find the time to do something you enjoy, whether that’s dancing around the house, playing the guitar, watching a few episodes of your favourite show, or taking on a Joe Wicks workout.
Reduce stress. Are you taking on more than you feel comfortable with at work? Be clear about what you’re able to do and when you’re able to do it. Work often comes with a little stress, but if it’s noticeably affecting your life, it’s time to set some boundaries.
3.Your Performance is Decreasing
Dirty washing is piling up, and your productivity is rapidly declining. Whether it’s with household chores or work assignments, you find yourself struggling with getting things done as effectively as before. Are you dreading tuning into virtual meetings? Does every new project bring anxiety or feelings of dread? Maybe mowing the lawn seems more daunting than ever.
Lack of inspiration, constant distractions, exhaustion, and work overload can all affect your performance. Here’s what you can do to help alleviate these signs of burnout:
Make a to-do list with time limits. If you’re not getting things done, checking things off your plan may provide you with just enough excitement to get tasks completed in a timely fashion.
Reduce distractions. Are your social media notifications dinging at all hours of the day? Perhaps your family members interrupt your workflow for a chat too often. Pay attention to the things that cause you to lose focus, and find creative ways to eliminate these distractions by implementing, for example, work hours during which you shouldn’t be disturbed or turning off disruptive notifications for social media apps. Noise cancelling headphone can be a game changer when sharing a home office with a partner or house mate. Trust me. I know!
Take a break. There’s no need to bulldoze your way through a full workday, so make sure to schedule uninterrupted lunch breaks and time for the occasional body stretch and recharge. This could bring a refreshing outlook to your work and cause you to return with clarity and energy.
Practice gratitude. Yeah I know. It’s a bit fluffy. But, along with your daily to-do list, keep a running list of things you’re thankful for. Taking time to recognise the experiences, relationships, and something you’re grateful for can refocus you and keep you motivated.
Give your home office a tune-up. If your current home office setup is a barstool and your kitchen countertop — poor ergonomics could be partially at fault for your lack of focus. Ensure that you have the right desk chair and furnishings to focus on work and not on lower back pain! Check your computer screen is at the right height an that you’re not overreaching to tap away on your keyboard.
4.You Can’t Power Down
When you wake up in the morning, you immediately reach for your phone to check business emails. You find yourself working beyond scheduled hours, and your job spills over into dinnertimes, special events, and family time. If work matters are on your mind around the clock, and you can’t seem to turn off the switch, here’s what you can do to take back your time and clear your mental space:
Set a work schedule. Let your co-workers know that you’ll only be available during certain times, and make sure you stick to them! If you don’t respect your own boundaries, others won’t either!
Write tomorrow’s to-dos today. While being both specific and realistic, determine where you will allocate your time in advance. When you have completed the items on your list and work hours have come to an end, turn off the computer and all job-related notifications. If there is a work emergency for which you’re needed, provide your employer with your contact information, solely for those situations, and nothing more.
Designate a workspace in your home. And when business hours are over, try to take the traditional approach — leave your work in this workspace and continue your day as if you aren’t working from home.