8 Proven Tips To Avoid Burnout When Working From Home

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woman working from home avoiding burnout

Burnout is a frequent issue in society, in general. Now that you’re in the midst of a health crisis that’s put the country on lockdown and thousands of people are working from home, the risk of burnout has increased exponentially.

Fortunately, this shift is only temporary. And while no one knows how long it will last, you need to take steps to ensure that you understand how to avoid burnout while working from home.

RELATED: 7 Good Habits To Adopt To Be Productive (& Motivated!) At Home

Working from home can be a challenge under the best of circumstances.

Add in an international pandemic, perhaps your partner working from home too, homeschooling your kids every day, and a ban on in-person social gatherings, and you’re talking about stress levels that you may never have experienced before.

Given the overwhelming sense of uncertainty about this entire situation, it’s important to look at your work habits and behaviors now to get in front of any potential burnout.

Here are 8 proven ways you can avoid burnout when working from home.

1. Set boundaries.

Setting specific work hours and personal hours is important while you’re working from home. If you can, set a specific time to start work each morning and finish work each evening, and ask your boss and colleagues to try and respect those boundaries.

For example, let them know that you won’t be responding to emails “after hours” if you can avoid it.

Similarly, ask your family to try and respect your work time. Let your partner or your kids know that those hours are carved out for work — just like they would be if you were in the office.

2. Follow a schedule.

We’re all living in a bit of chaos right now, and one remedy for chaos is structure. Follow the same routine every workday as best you can.

If you used to hit the gym before work, try going out for a run before you begin your workday. If you liked to read during lunch to give your brain a break, do that now while you work from home.

When you work in an office, breaks naturally occur throughout the day when colleagues stop by the office or you run out to grab lunch. Remember to take breaks like you normally would — put them in your calendar as a reminder if you need to.

3. Practice self-care.

It’s no secret that people are functioning on overwhelm and adrenaline right now. This makes self-care even more important.

So, what can self-care look like during a nation-wide lockdown? Good question…

Self-care isn’t limited to spa days and mani-pedis. Self-care is any action you take to intentionally support your health and well-being.

Here is a list of my favorite self-care activities that are especially helpful to stop burnout:

  • Eat regularly; life is a lot harder when your body and brain are running on empty.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Shower and get dressed — every day — and make it a long one, especially if your kiddos are home 24/7. A shower can be the perfect place for some quiet time.
  • Read your favorite book.
  • Watch a movie you’ve always wanted to see.
  • Get out and move — physical activity gives a natural endorphin boost, which helps combat stress and relieve anxiety. Even a 15-minute walk can be super helpful.
  • Take a tour of something you’ve always wanted to see. So many museums and national parks are offering free tours during this crisis… Take advantage of it!

RELATED: 5 Simple Tips For Staying Successful While Working Remotely

4. Maximize your workspace.

When you work from home, it’s tempting to carry your computer with you as you move through the house. This habit weakens the divide between work life and personal life, since it makes you accessible no matter where you are.

You don’t carry your computer into the kitchen at the office. It’s impossible to apply the same approach at home.

By carving out a dedicated workspace in your home, you’re drawing invisible lines around your work life to keep it contained. This can stop it from bleeding into important parts of your personal life (like the bedroom).

Plus, it gives your brain a clear barrier when you’re working, and when you’re not. If you step out of your workspace for a few minutes, your brain recognizes that as a break and has time to reset.

5. Think creatively.

If you have kiddos at home, you might have to get creative when it comes to managing your roles as a parent and as a professional.

If you have important meetings one day, see if you can set up virtual play-dates for your kids with other families. Or, ask Nana and Papa if they can do some virtual babysitting if you need uninterrupted time to work on a big project.

6. Ask for help.

We all know the saying, “It takes a village,” and I think you’re learning together just how true that is. One of the biggest blessings I’ve seen over the past few weeks is how families and communities have come together to support one another.

So while it might not be your natural tendency… If you need help, ask for it.

That might mean asking your partner to cook dinner when that’s normally something you would do. Or asking your neighbor to bring out your bins on garbage day if you have an important presentation to prepare for.

Whatever it is, now is the time to learn how to depend on others. Because we’re all in this together.

7. Maintain connections.

We’re all facing these challenging times, and support is more important than ever. Stay connected to colleagues (virtual happy hours are the best), set up daily or weekly calls with friends and family members, and check on your neighbors when you can.

Human beings are social creatures and aren’t meant to live in isolation. Giving yourself permission to shut work down and spend time (virtually) with others can actually do a lot to curb burnout.

8. Be realistic.

The truth of the matter is that life isn't normal right now, and you don’t really know when it will return to normal. Living under highly-stressful conditions might create some temporary limitations in your performance at work.

Yes, it’s absolutely important to still do a good job. But your expectations of yourself might need to be adjusted during this time. If you don’t already know, learn what “good enough” means, and practice it.

No matter how well you do everything mentioned above, you might still find yourself on the edge of burnout and in need of some extra support, so reach out to a professional if you're in need of extra help.

RELATED: 5 Strategies To Cope With ADHD When Working From Home

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Babita Spinelli is a psychotherapist and CEO of Opening the Doors Psychotherapy and Embrace Coaching. To learn more about how she can help you accomplish your goals, visit her website here.

This article was originally published at Thrive Global. Reprinted with permission from the author.