The technology we have at our disposal has made it possible to take our work home, and many people have used this advantage (or sometimes, disadvantage) for years now. With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, working from home has become the “new normal” around the globe. In the U. S. alone, two-thirds of employees have moved their work activities to their homes.
For some people, remote working may mean less stress because they can avoid long commutes and potentially unpleasant encounters. However, mental health can suffer even when you are working from the comfort of your home, particularly because it becomes more difficult to separate your private life from work chores.
If you’re struggling to preserve your sanity while working from home, here are a few tips that will help you deal with the burnout.
Set Some Boundaries
Remote working can be difficult, especially if you are not alone in your home. Members of your household might interrupt you while you’re working, which can become very stressful if it happens repeatedly. Creating a physically separate working space and establishing boundaries with your family members will help with that.
But even if you’re living alone, you may lose sight of the boundaries between work and your private time. In this case, you need a psychological separation between these two. The first step is to establish a ritual of getting ready for work (working in your pajamas can only be fun for so long). Secondly, plan your private time and fill it with hobbies and interests that will help get your mind off work.
Don’t Neglect Sleep
When you work from home, you’re likely to stay in front of your computer for even longer hours. The fact that you are literally carrying your work home can also contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety, which can cause you to lose sleep. Sacrificing your sleep is not something you should take lightly, especially because the consequences can be severe – from losing focus and memory to weakened immunity and increased risk of heart disease.
Effectively managing your time without cutting back on sleep is possible with:
- maintaining a bedtime routine
- eating a balanced diet
- practicing de-stressing methods, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation
Don’t Become Antisocial
People who are new to remote work often experience stress and even depression when they’re forced to isolate themselves from their coworkers. Combine that with the current pandemic and the impossibility to maintain your social relationships in a way you normally would, and you’ll get a path to emotional burnout.
So, what can you do without jeopardizing yourself and the people close to you?
Make an effort to enrich the relationship with your household members. Try to be active in communication with your friends and coworkers via phone calls, video calls, and social media. Remember that relationships are much more than just physical contact, and that there are ways to have an interesting and deep conversation without sitting in the same room.
Take a Break
Ideally, employees have a right to a lunch break if they work longer than six hours a day. This break should be uninterrupted and used for lunch. If you work longer than that, you should have several additional short breaks to rest your eyes, stretch your legs, or simply clear your mind. This is especially important if you are sitting in an uncomfortable chair and staring at the computer screen all the time.
When you’re on a break, try not to think about your work too much. Get up, take a short walk. Stretch and do simple exercises to avoid neck and back pain.
What’s Done Is Done
If your shift ends at five o’clock, be sure to log off and shut down at five o’clock precisely, unless there is an emergency. And when we say “log off,” we really mean that. This means shutting down your company phone and putting emails on silent. This is the time to reset your mind to your private life and do something that has nothing to do with your job.
Be Kind to Yourself
If you’re new to remote work, it’s natural to make mistakes, to be less productive, and to be stressed out. Don’t be too harsh on yourself because of that. Instead, make a note of everything you do well and reward yourself for it.
Set some time aside to practice self-care. This can include things such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. It’s also important to care for your health by eating a balanced diet and being physically active.
Work-from-home-burnout is not a joke, especially when combined with the currently present anxiety over the pandemic. Hopefully, these few tips will help you deal with it appropriately and get out of it stronger.