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7 tips to avoid work from home burnout

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For most of us working from home, it has been almost two years of juggling sleepless nights, work, family demands, and thoughts of an uncertain future. With so much weighing on our minds, it's no surprise that everyone's anxiety levels are slowly leading to burnout.

Last February, the professional feedback platform Blind conducted a study on employee burnout. Their research found that since the pandemic, 73% of the respondents said they were burning out on the job, with these as the top three reasons:

  • 26.7% – No separation between work and life
  • 20.5% – Unmanageable workload
  • 18.8% – Job security concerns

Moreover, Lisa Orbé-Austin, a psychologist and executive coach in New York City, remarks that working from home adds a different dimension to burnout. With the absence of the daily commute and the increased use of our mobile devices, workers are constantly "exposed" to work. From the bed to the computer then back, we can't find the "off switch" that prevents work from spilling into our non-work hours.

But that doesn't mean it's impossible to avoid burnout. These 7 work from home burnout tips can aid in preventing you from reaching breaking point:

1. Spot the signs early on

It's easier to prevent burnout before it takes over. However, when most days are stressful, it can be difficult to realize that you're experiencing burnout already.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies burnout with these signs and symptoms:

  • Energy depletion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job
  • Feelings of cynicism toward one's job.
  • Reduced professional efficacy

When these signs begin to get in the way of your work, take it seriously and see how you can reduce the symptoms of burnout early on.

2. Set a schedule that works for everyone

The first thing you can do is establish a schedule that takes into account both work and play. Having a daily routine will keep you on track while your family can steadily become more familiar with the rhythm of your work throughout the day.

If you're already following a schedule, check whether it's still working for you. Remember that your old work schedule from the office won't always work in a remote arrangement. When changes are needed, you can try approaching your boss to ask if you can reestablish a more flexible schedule.

3. Enforce your boundaries and limits

With your schedule, set up clear boundaries and limits for work. Though you can be online all day, you should not have to answer calls or messages during sleep hours or during your breaks.

It can be difficult to be firm about these limits. You don't want to seem like you're unwilling to help but think of it this way, taking that call will only interrupt your sleep and rest, which can affect your performance in the long run.

4. Reduce distractions with designated spaces

Working at home means you're bound to be exposed to countless distractions. What's more, getting distracted tends to spill over to other members of the house and you may end up distracting them as well.

The best solution is to set up a personal workspace. A designated area where no one can disturb you can do wonders in eliminating distractions. Even if it's just one desk and a chair, this can increase your productivity and keep everyone's businesses in line.

5. Simulate your commute

Many are quite glad that their commute has been shortened or eliminated completely. However, the time and effort we took to walk to the office or ride a cab offered some hidden benefits. Without our daily commute, we miss out on the chance to squeeze in some exercise or de-stress by people-watching.

To regain those advantages, simulate your commute by spending time on some exercise before or after you work. And to de-stress at the end of the day, chat with a friend or put on some dance music before moving on to your other responsibilities at home.

6 Practice self-care

Taking care of your health is an important factor in preventing burnout. Now that you're getting some exercise as you simulate your commute, couple it with wellness tips for working from home, namely adequate amounts of sleep and relaxation. You can do this by including at least one activity that you love into your work schedule and sleeping early.

And if you're in the midst of a burning out? Take a vacation—the right way. Don't just spend your break doing nothing. Focus on recovery and fill the day with things that help you relax and decompress, whether it's family time, meditation, or working out.

7. When all else fails, seek help

If you feel like you've tried all the tips in this list and you're still on the path to burn out, it may be time to look for outside help. You can start with reaching out to your colleagues, friends, and family; let them know what you're going through or see if they have any insights.

You can also seek a therapist. Burnout is recognized by WHO as an occupational phenomenon so don't think that it's no reason to look for professional help. It may not be something you're keen to experience, but if it finds a solution to your situation, it's all worth the effort.

Burnout may seem inevitable now, but you can change your fate. So, take a break, and refresh your mind to get ready for the new day ahead!

Half the Sky's mission is to supply the tools that can give every woman the ability to build a successful career and be fully prepared for the future of work. So, that they can lead a healthy, prosperous and more balanced/blended lifestyle of their choosing.  By building your confidence, you’re setting foundations to empower yourself and your career.  The world is your oyster, and it starts with you. 

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