How to Deal with Burnout due to Working at Home

Burnout

Have you been feeling unusually exhausted and overwhelmed these past few months?

Do you feel like you’ve lost the motivation and the passion to do the things you love? You are probably feeling burnout.

And you know what? You are not alone in this situation. 

With what’s happening around the world, everyone’s life has changed. It’s been a year of quarantine. The stress due to uncertainty, loss of routine, and the challenges of juggling your work-life balance while working from home has taken its toll on most of us. It’s inevitable to feel burned out. 

The majority of us have switched to remote working due to the pandemic.

There is this feeling that you constantly have to be in “work mode” at home, and there is no longer a division between your working space and living space. Also, there are some of us whose children are also doing online classes. This causes some people to feel physically, emotionally and mentally drained. 

How do you know when you are burned out?

Do you feel the weight of your responsibilities dragging you down? Do you feel trapped or suffocated? Are you having a hard time sleeping?

Burnout manifests differently for anyone. 

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

Some symptoms to look out for when one is feeling burn out is :

  • Lack of motivation and low energy
  • Mentally shut off from peers and family
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Having a hard time sleeping
  • Reduced efficiency 

If left unattended, it can be hard to get out of that slump. It can affect your work, your relationships, and your health if not addressed right away. 

How do you cope with burnout? 

So how can you take a break from all your responsibilities when your work and home mesh together? 

  • Set boundaries

Start by setting a schedule for yourself. When you work from home, it’s hard to separate your ‘office space’ and ‘home space’ especially if you live with your family. Sometimes you have to set it up in your bedroom. To create that division, create a schedule that limits you from doing work on certain hours. Allow yourself space to not think about work by cutting off the distractions. Set up your email to have an automatic message to whoever contacts you after 6 pm that you’ll get back to them the next day. Create time for yourself and your family. On the weekends, don’t take work calls or emails. They can reach you only if it’s an emergency. Personally, I have set hours I work every day and week, and I strictly abide by that schedule for the most part (barring a coaching emergency of course).

  • Take small breaks

Remind yourself that it’s okay to take breaks. Get out of your chair. Make yourself a cup of coffee, get some snacks, don’t forget to eat. Open your window, get some fresh air if you can. Stay away from the computer even for only 5 minutes. Do yoga in between breaks. Take a short walk around your neighbourhood. Giving yourself small breaks allows your mind to rest. I take at least 2 walks every day to break up my work day.

  • Learn how to say no

It’s okay to say no to tasks or projects especially if your calendar is full already. Your productivity is not measured by the amount of work you are taking. Our society has wired us to think that productivity is about taking on projects left, right and centre. What we fail to understand is that productivity is about being able to finish a task efficiently. Focus on 1-2 projects at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with work. Focus on what matters. The most successful people in the world, say no more than they say yes.

We live in challenging and trying times. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself too. 

Although we are coaches, it’s important to note that coaches are not therapists. A coach is someone who can help you with your professional goals and be your mentor.

If you need help and if you have the means to do so, seek a professional regarding your mental health. Take time to nurture yourself, and don’t let yourself burnout. 

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” ~Unknown. 

P.S. Looking for other articles on burnout? Check out this one and this one.

About the Author

Heather WIlsonHeather E. Wilson is the founder and CEO of The Canadian Coach, a directory and membership platform designed to unite, support and promote Canadian coaches. She's a successful business coach, speaker, author (Your Life According to You!), warrior, change-maker, risk-taker, and adventurer all rolled into one dynamic package.