How To Prevent Burnout
The Covid-19 crisis has pretty much thrown the whole world on its head. Everything we knew before has changed and we’ve had to adapt as much as possible – almost overnight.
As it became clear that everyone needed to start working from home, we were presented with a number of challenges. Parents for one would need to take care of their children on a fulltime basis – as well as home school them – all while continuing to work.
Many have had to try and set up a home office – and not just one either. For many households, this has involved trying to set up multiple quiet spaces.
Furthermore, many in the IT industry have been put under enormous amounts of pressure to transform business infrastructure, migrate to cloud and enable staff to work securely, on an almost immediate timescale.
And with everyone focused on trying to keep the cogs turning, it’s easy to see how burnout can creep up on us.
Days and nights have started to blur a little, workloads have been intensely high and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to take a break – or are there?
It’s clear that we need to stop and rethink our working days from home. Not just to avoid burnout but also to give us a healthy balance going forwards so that we help take the pressure off while everything settles down.
Our tips for avoiding burnout while working from home
We’ve put together our top tips for avoiding burnout while working from home so that you can stay happy, healthy and as productive as possible.
1) Find dedicated quiet time
Everyone needs time to concentrate but no one can give 100% 24/7/365 – it’s just impossible. And one of the best ways to be productive is to dedicate some quiet time when you can give your all. But then it’s a specific amount of time, after which, you get to do something else and slow the pace a little.
Pick a time where you work best. If you’re a morning person, this is probably first thing. If you’re a night owl, then perhaps taking some time just after dinner to get some work done would suit you the most.
Whatever the time of day, make sure you plan in what you want to get done and then dedicate those tasks to that specific time.
2) Vary your breaks
While working from home, we’ve of course been very restricted in what we can do to relax. But there is still room for keeping things varied. Structure is good but you need to make sure that when you take a break, you’re diverting your attention away from work and not just doing something else while thinking about work.
When it’s time to relax, pick activities that are distracting and engaging – but not too taxing. Perhaps it’s a case of exploring a new route for your daily walk or doing a puzzle.
Whatever fits make sure you’re actively taking time out and changing your focus.
3) Food for thought
One of the benefits of working from home is that we don’t have to rely on meals that are easy to transport or fit into the work fridge.
So, whether it’s making extra at dinner time to give you something nice for lunch the next day or just doing something a bit different, find little ways to treat yourself as well as give yourself the right nutrients to stay focused and energised.
4) Change your view
When working from home, it’s easy to feel like you’re stuck in Groundhog Day – with no meeting rooms and wanders around the building to change things up, your dedicated office space can feel sometimes feel a bit uninspiring.
If you can, why not change up the view? Swap the back bedroom for the garden, move your desk around – anything you can just to help keep the energy up as well as help you feel refreshed.
5) Recognise when you’re tired
We can’t just keep going all the time. And often if you try to – especially when you’re already exhausted – you’re definitely going to burn out.
The best thing to do is to accept when you’re feeling tired, prioritise your work and then just adopt a ‘less is more’ approach. Do what you can, then stop and come back the next day after a good break and a restful night’s sleep.
6) Take some time out to meditate
Many people think that meditation is all about relaxing, but the main objective of meditation is actually to help your focus.
And by regularly drawing your attention away from your current workload, you’ll be able to do it more often and more easily. So that when it’s time to switch off, you can truly free up your thoughts and get away from passively relaxing while churning everything over in your head.
7) Don’t keep checking your emails
Just because your computer is there, doesn’t mean that it needs to be on all the time. In fact, working long into the night is almost going to guarantee burnout.
Even if you’re just checking emails, it still means your brain is in work mode and you’re prolonging the stress of the day.
Try to have a regular stopping time each day if you can and give yourself enough time in the evenings to wind down properly and recentre your thoughts.
8) Schedule in some nothing time
If you’re naturally hard-working, taking some time out to do nothing can easily induce feelings of guilt and you’re much more likely to swap out 30 minutes of staring at the garden for doing something more productive.
What you have to remember is that true productivity doesn’t come about from working 24/7. It comes about from giving your brain and body proper balance throughout the day. So, just like you’re dedicated concentration time, make sure you have some dedicated nothing time to take in some nature and just switch off completely.
9) Get creative
Being creative is a great way to properly divert your attention as well as improve your mood. And there are lots of ways you can be creative while staying at home.
Trying new foods and developing new recipes is a great way to start. But also, you can do anything from gardening, to painting, drawing, cake decorating, designing a new workout or even writing. And if you play an instrument, even better.
Hobbies are perfect for redirecting your thoughts and are enjoyable too.
10) Connect with those who are in the same boat as you
There’s nothing like putting the world to rights with a few friends who are in exactly the same boat as you. Catch up over Teams, have a laugh, get chatting and take a breather. You don’t need to wait for Friday night, you can get together for regular coffee breaks just to help you take some time out each day to smile in good company.
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