How to manage burnout when working remotely
Working from home can be a blessing or a curse, and it’s definitely still possible to experience burnout at home. You might feel tired, confused and become forgetful. Other signs include frustration, anger and sadness. Sound familiar? Here are a few tips to help you recover, and prevent future bouts of burnout.
In a time when we’re more isolated than ever, unable to get into the office or socialise with our loved ones as normal, it’s important to stay connected. Schedule chats, meetings or quick check-ins with your team regularly to make sure everyone’s in touch. While it might feel easier to get everyone done via email, a short phone call goes a long way, and might brighten your colleague’s day as well as yours!
Try to make time for your friends and family too, and book in Zoom or Skype calls, virtual games and socially-distanced get-togethers to make sure your social needs are being met.
Stick to a routine
We’ve all been there - suddenly it’s 2pm and you’re still in your dressing gown. While it can feel nice to let the usual rules fly out the window, it’s not always a good idea. Try to stick to your usual routine - wake up at your normal time, shower, brush your teeth, get dressed and eat some breakfast before you sit down at your computer. You might be surprised at how good it feels!
Eat regular meals, stay hydrated (set alarms for yourself if you struggle to remember) and keep up with your usual exercise schedule if you can. Even a daily walk around the block is beneficial to keep your body moving, and release the tension of sitting at a desk all day.
Maintain your work life balance
Don’t feel guilty about enforcing your contracted hours. If an email comes through at 9pm and you signed off at 6 - don’t feel pressured into responding, or even reading it! We all need to be extra vigilant about protecting our evenings and weekends while working at home, as there’s no commute to bookend the day. Try going for a walk or getting changed at the end of your workday to make your evening relaxation time feel more pronounced.
Make sure you’re getting a proper lunch break, and a coffee break if needed, as well as regular moments to look up from your screen throughout the day. In an office environment, there are countless little distractions, interactions and interruptions that ensure we don’t stare at a screen for 8 hours straight, and the little conversations and collaborations make us feel part of a team. It’s easy to feel guilty taking breaks at home, but it’s still important, and will likely make the rest of your day more energised and productive.
Practice self-care & mindfulness
It’s important to take care of our minds, as well as our bodies, and there are lots of tools out there to help with this. Headspace and Calm are both fantastic free (with in-app purchases) tools for guided meditation. The NHS app library is a fantastic resource, and has lots of self-care focused apps to choose from. Meditation is said to improve sleep, brain function, mood and memory - so it’s worth a try!
There’s a lot to be said for being more mindful, and it’s something we can all stand to work on. Even something as simple as focusing solely on enjoying your first sip of coffee, rather than drinking it absent-mindedly while trawling through your over-crowded inbox can make your mind feel less busy. A walk round the park with no distractions, focusing on the sights, sounds, smells and physical sensations of the breeze and the movement of your body is another great place to start.
Many therapists recommend a gratitude journal as a good place to start if you want to improve your mental health. Before bed, write down 3 things you’re grateful for in your day and take a moment to appreciate the good things.
Use your annual leave
As tempting as it might be to save your annual leave for when you’re back in the office, or for when you’re finally able to fly off to somewhere sunny, don’t deprive yourself of crucial time off. Use your holiday and take a break! Even if it’s just a long weekend in a country cottage in the UK, or even a few days off at home, it’ll do you the world of good to turn on your out of office and switch off.
Cut down on screen time
Instead of reaching for the remote at the end of a long day staring at your laptop, head out for a walk in the fresh air, read a book or take a bath. Give your brain (and your eyes!) a break from technology, and treat yourself to some proper down time. No screens allowed!