Working from home may have sounded like a dream when we still had to commute to and from our workplaces, but yes, it’s possible to feel burnout even when you’re working from home. The thing is, many of us weren’t prepared for the sudden shift to remote work, and it turns out, getting things done can actually be more challenging at home.
When you work in an office, you have a dedicated space that’s entirely for work. When you work from home, it’s easy to get lost in other things: bad news, arguing family members, household chores, budgeting, a quick breakdown — and then it just becomes too overwhelming. The burnout might come sooner than you think. How do you cope with it?
Follow a routine
Routines are probably one of the first things we threw out of the window since we shifted to remote work. There’s no need to wake up an extra two hours in the morning to get ready and beat the traffic. But routines can help you get in the zone and shift to work-mode. For example, if you read during your morning bus ride, try dedicating a few minutes of your morning doing exactly that. You might think that routines are just for kids but they’re actually very helpful, and have been shown to manage stress and improve your sleep and overall heealth. Through routines, you develop healthy habits that would not only make you feel good but help boost your productivity at work.
It’s easy to lose touch of your work-life balance when there’s no line that separates it. Back when we were working in offices, we had a dedicated space that was solely for work. Now that we’re working from home, we have to worry about so many other things: cooking meals, taking care of your children (if you have any), and other errands.
It’s important to draw lines that will help keep you sane. Begin with dedicating a space to work, and nothing but work. It doesn’t have to be a dedicated home office, because not everyone has the space for that. It can simply be a specific corner in your room. Avoid working from your bed because where’s the boundary there?
Stop working when it’s time to stop
Make use of the benefits that come with remote work. Sure, you don’t have to deal with everyday commute but that doesn’t mean you’ll spend that extra time on work. Stop working when it’s already time to log out.
Turn off your laptop, start preparing for dinner. Stop answering emails at 11 PM and stop attending to text messages beyond working hours unless they’re urgent. Teach yourself to maintain normal working hours because if you keep on extending, you’ll just end up burning out faster.
Practice saying “no”
Especially to things that are outside your job description. Oftentimes, these extra tasks are distracting and make you lose track of what needs to be done first. You might already have a lot on your plate right now and constantly saying “yes” will only make the pile of work that needs to be done larger. This also applies to replying to emails and texts outside of working hours. Just because you’re able to do so, it doesn’t mean you should. Remember: boundaries.
Because even in the office, you take breaks too! Remember those mornings where you went out to buy breakfast with your officemates? The post-lunch coffee runs? How about those few minutes in the afternoon when the regular merienda vendor stops by? Have lunch at the dining table and not in front of your laptop. Maybe squeeze in a quick 5-minute meditation. It’s important to take breaks because our minds get tired too!
When work becomes overwhelming, breathing exercises become quite handy. They’re supposed to help bring deep relaxation to the body and beat the fight-or-flight response of your body towards stress. One great example is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
Don’t be afraid to talk to your supervisor or co-workers when work is beginning to feel heavy. Have honest conversations not only with others, but also yourself. You can’t always be operating at 100%, especially with everything that’s happening in the world right now. Remember, you are not less for seeking help.
Take it easy
Cut yourself some slack. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed every now and then. Among other things, we’re trying to battle against a pandemic. Find your strength, something that would help keep you afloat in spite of today’s uncertainties. It can be through exercising, writing on a journal, or simply enjoying time with your family. It’s totally okay to breathe.
How do you battle against burnout? Share with us below!