Burnout: 5 practical ways to deal when you're (still) working from home
WFH: both a blessing and a curse.
While some companies across Europe have slowly but surely started allowing employees to head back to the office, here in Ireland a lot of people are still working from home.
It's been over a year since the beginning of the pandemic and, for a lot of workers, the shine has worn off, the days feel longer, and the stress and anxieties of being flat out from your own home are starting to wear thin.
You're burnt out, you're unmotivated, you're uninspired, exhausted, and over-worked - and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot you can do about.
But while being stuck working from your gaff may remain a reality, there are certain things you can do to make the situation more bearable, and to ensure that you tackle burnout in the most efficient and manageable way.
1. Express that you're burnt out
Admitting that you're drained and exhausted can sometimes be the hardest part of dealing with the fact that you are, in fact, drained and exhausted.
But if you don't express that you're struggling, nobody can help you. Telling a manager or a colleague that you're burnt out won't just take away some of the burden, but will also open you up to a plethora of options for dealing with your burn out.
It can sometimes feel like there is little to be done about feeling this way, but chances are there is - you just need an outsider to point you in the right direction.
2. Separate work and chill time
Not just mentally, but physically too.
Working from home has meant that the vast majority of people are spending a significant amount of time at, well, home.
Some are more lucky than others, spending their 8+ hours bashing away in a study or a spare room, while the rest of us try to get our work done in busy kitchens, small sitting rooms, or God forbid, our bedrooms.
No matter where you're based, it's important to give yourself some relaxation time outside of that space. If you're working from the kitchen, chill out in your bedroom afterwards. If you're working from the bedroom, go hang out in a more communal space.
If you're working all over your house and are sick to death of the place, go on a walk straight after work, on your lunch break, or before you clock on.
Physically distancing yourself from your work space should make a significant difference to your mental health.
3. Make use of your annual leave days
Never underestimate the power of having something to look forward to. Whether it's planning a short break somewhere outside of your county, or simply having a few days off to recharge, taking time off is probably the most effective way to deal with burn out.
Where annual leave days were once reserved only for trips abroad, scauldy festivals, and other fun pre-Covid activities, it can sometimes seem futile to use them up otherwise.
But they're there, and chances are you're going to have to use most of them up before the end of the year. You might as well book a few days off and have something to look forward to.
4. Take it back a gear
While a lot of people have found that they work better form home, many have also found that they've been working more.
Having your office in your home can be handy, but it can also lead to the presumption that you're always available for amends, are willing to work harder, and have the capacity to do so.
It might be tempting to go full throttle five days a week, but being consistently floored by work can easily lead to a crash. So, take a step back.
Can you afford to take it back a gear, do the work you're expected to do and get to the rest when you get to it? Could you delegate some of that extra work?
If you are feeling burnt out the chances are that you've been working beyond your capacity for a long time. If you're up front about how you've been feeling, a fair boss will not chastise you for taking it easy for a couple of days.
5. Plan and reward
Whether it's planning your day, planning your week, or planning a tactical nap, knowing what's coming down the road will hopefully help you feel less overwhelmed.
Make a checklist of realistic achievements for the week, and cross them off as you complete them. Naturally, jobs and tasks you hadn't anticipated will crop up from time to time, but if you're on top of everything else, and you're feeling positive about what you've achieved, the day-to-day will feel less daunting.
Remember to reward yourself for working as hard as you have been - and for taking a break when you need to.
Work is important, but it shouldn't be the be-all and end-all of your existence. Treat yourself to something nice for doing the best you can do, but also for looking out for yourself.
(*If your anxiety or feelings of hopelessness due to burnout are becoming unmanageable, you should always contact a healthcare professional.)