10 Ways to Stay Zen and Avoid Burnout While Working from Home

Even the best of us face burnout.

Throw in a pandemic, going remote for over a year, among all of the other shifts in our lives, and it’d be a surprise if there are any of us left that haven’t burnt out to some degree.

Working fully remote is a new concept for most of us. It’s hard to find the balance of both living and working at home. This can easily blur the lines which can become a stressor in your workday.

So, what are the symptoms of burnout? According to Mayo Clinic, ask yourself:

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you find it hard to concentrate?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?

If you relate to any of these symptoms, you may be feeling some burnout from your job. Luckily most cases of burnout only require taking a step back to see how you can regain your footing. Here are ten ways to get you back on track.

1. Stop Trying to Find the Perfect Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is something we all strive for. You don’t want to work so much that you have no time for your personal life. You want to equally prioritize the demands of your career along with the demands of your personal life.

But what if instead of finding the balance, finding harmony is the answer to your problems? You don’t need to sacrifice your life for your work. How can you truly feel balanced in your life if you dread those 8 hours of your day? Finding value and passion in your work allows your work to harmonize with the rest of your life.

2. Realize Your Breaking Point Before You Break

Know and recognize your symptoms and triggers of burnout before burnout strikes. It’s not easy to fully unplug but knowing when you’re close to burnout can prevent weeks of burnout and burnout recovery which is a lot less stressful on you. When you know you’re about to reach a burnout stage, take a day off from work, be active, be social, or something else that you know will alleviate the stress.

3. Practice Optimism, Not Cynicism

This may sound obvious and cliché but cliches are exactly that for a reason.

Cynicism, according to HBR, “represents an erosion of engagement. It is essentially a way of distancing yourself psychologically from your work. Instead of feeling invested in your assignments, projects, colleagues, customers, and other collaborators, you feel detached, negative, even callous.”

Positive self-talk and practicing optimism can not only transform your workday but every other aspect of your life. If you are generally cynical and negative, try to shift your perspective and realign your thinking to something more beneficial like optimism.

4. Schedule Free Time Throughout the Day

When you’re working in an office, you can find several times throughout the day to step away from your workspace, whether it’s going out for lunch on your break, heading to the kitchen to make a snack, or popping by a coworker’s office to chat. When you’re working from home, you might feel a little more limited in your structure.

Making space for free time throughout the workday breaks it up enough that you aren’t staring at a computer screen or dwelling on work nonstop. There are several things you can do for this, including:

  • Getting up once an hour to walk around for 10 minutes
  • Take a quick cat nap to reenergize
  • Meal prep outside of the workday to free up more time during work hours

5. Go for a Walk or Do Yoga

This obviously ties into utilizing free time during the workday. Go for a walk on your lunch break or if you have a phone call scheduled. Going for a walk or doing yoga during the workday can help clear your mind and recenter you for the rest of the day. Fresh air and a little bit of physical fitness are great for burnout.

6. Get a Workout in First Thing in the Morning (or Just Wake Up Earlier)

Fitness isn’t everyone’s bag, but we’re all aware that it is undoubtedly beneficial for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Waking up early also isn’t everyone’s bag but waking up well before the workday can help you start your day off right and make you feel way more accomplished. It sets a great standard for the rest of the day.

7. Embrace a Morning Ritual

If you DO wake up well before your workday, do you have a morning ritual? Most people get out of bed, take a shower, and make breakfast, or something along those lines. Add into that a gym session or yoga, planning out your entire day, or going for a sunrise walk, and you will start your morning off bigger and better than anyone else.

8. Find Something to Look Forward to After the Workday

If you have nothing to look forward to after the workday, what are you really working for? Do you have hobbies? Do you like to cook dinner right after work? Is there a movie you’ve been wanting to watch? Want to throw it back and build a puzzle? What about a fitness class?

Giving yourself something to look forward to after the workday can drastically shift your attitude and demeanor during the day. You’ll feel excited to get your work done because you have something to do after that work is done.

9. Take on a Personal Project

Is there a personal project that also aligns with your career that you can work on during the workday? Sometimes working on a personal endeavor that doesn’t include deadlines or guidelines can inspire you to get more done, both personally and professionally.

10. Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care can be any number of things you do to take care of yourself. Prioritizing good sleep habits should be number one. Nutrition is also just as important. Make sure you’re eating enough during the day, eating well, and drinking enough water. Nurturing your social connections, in turn, nurtures you. Learn to do the things that fill and nurture your soul.

Being mindful of burnout, whether that’s being aware of the symptoms or realizing your breaking point, is crucial when working from home, or working period. It requires constant vigilance and regular maintenance but really can be manageable when you see the signs.


 

  • Have you experienced burnout?
  • What are your tips and tricks to manage burnout?

 


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