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How To Deal With Working From Home Burnout

19th January 2021

19th January 2021

By Shivraj Bassi

It’s been just over a year since many of us swapped Tube seats for sofas and office chairs for kitchen chairs and started working from home full-time. Initially it seemed like a fun experiment, wearing sweatpants to video meetings, working from bed and trying out funny Zoom backdrops. Once the months started trickling by, however, it’s likely that fatigue and frustration began to set in. If you like working in a collaborative environment, it’s very difficult to sit in your spare room alone every single day, willing the squirrel who hangs out in your garden to perch on the windowsill so they can stand in as an emergency co-worker. 

If you’ve been experiencing stress, sadness and anxiety about working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s possible that you’re experiencing working from home burnout. Burnout refers to feelings of exhaustion, cynicism and reduced confidence about what you’re doing. If working with your laptop balanced on your knees every day is getting to be a bit much, we’re here to help you cope. 

Build up your boundaries

When you can attend a meeting in your pyjamas and have no-one be the wiser, it’s clear how the boundaries between your work life and your personal life can quickly become blurred, or even nonexistent. It’s crucial to ensure that work isn’t seeping into your every waking minute, and to put boundaries on work-related activities. That could mean working in a different physical space to where you relax, using a different browser window for your work stuff and your Netflix tabs, or putting your phone on do not disturb mode at a certain time of day.  

Take breaks

Being productive and feeling busy are two different things. Take regular breaks throughout your working day to recharge, relax and rest your eyes for a moment - ideally without looking at a screen. 

This is especially important when it comes to lunch. It’s likely that when you worked in an office you took at least ten minutes to stroll to Pret and back. Don’t compromise yourself by eating lunch al desko every day and getting endless crumbs underneath your computer keyboard (never a good look). Try using your lunch break to get a workout in, do some simple stretches or simply take a walk to the park. This way, you’ll support both your physical and your mental health, and almost certainly make yourself more productive when you return to your tasks in the afternoon. 

Give yourself a treat

If COVID-19 didn’t exist, we’d all be going out to dinner, meeting friends for drinks and trying out a fun new workout class on a weekday morning. Just because we’re now working from home doesn’t mean we can’t do nice things for ourselves during the week. Schedule a video call with a friend, crack open a new novel or have an indulgent bath with your favourite expensive bath oil. This will help both your mind and body to reset and help you to feel less stressed. 

Get some sleep

Sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing, and if you’re feeling burned out from working from home, it’s even more important than usual to give our brains a chance to rest. Getting a good night’s sleep will improve your mood and energy levels. 

If you’re having trouble nodding off, check out our guide to getting the best night’s sleep of your life. Give yourself the best possible chance to rest, such as having a hot bath or shower just before bed, limiting screen time and doing some mindfulness, breathwork or meditation before you close your eyes. 

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

Plan your day

If you’ve been waking up every day with the fear of a day spent working alone weighing on you, you might find it helpful to plan out what you’re going to be doing in advance. The human brain loves structure, so this could help you to feel more in control and less alone. 

Try writing down a list of tasks you want to do today and setting alarms on your phone for the start and end of the workday. Ticking things off and getting stuff down will give you a sense of achievement and a concrete sense of having got things done. 

Try to focus

Computers, phones and the internet in general are all designed to distract us and suck up every drop of our attention span with constant notifications, flashing messages and endless windows of different information. Seeing these can break your cycle of productivity and creativity, distract you from what you’re doing and make you feel as though you’ve been jumping from task to task all day without getting anything done. 

To limit this, you could try muting notifications for periods of time when you don’t want to be distracted, going for intervals without checking your phone and muting the alert sounds on your emails so there’s less temptation to check. 

Innermost's The Focus Capsules are a great way to boost your attention span and ability to focus. Nootropic capsules, they contain research-backed ingredients that boost cognitive performance and processing speed while reducing mental fatigue. 

Ask for help

If you’re persistently worried, anxious and upset because of your work, ask for help. Whether that’s speaking to a colleague (sometimes even a good gossip session about that coworker you both hate can help), letting your boss know you need some adjustments to do your job the best you can, or considering some therapy to help you through this difficult time, there’s no worse time to suffer in silence than in the middle of a pandemic. If you keep pushing on without making any changes, you’ll only become more and more tired and overwhelmed as the weeks slip by - and this kind of thing always catches up to you eventually. 

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Chloe is a life, nutrition and fitness coach from the South East Of England. She has been a coach for 7 years now, working mainly with women. Her goal is to help women become their healthiest and become the best version of themselves, Innermost helps to achieve this.    View this post on Instagram A post shared by CHLOE THOMAS || ONLINE COACH 🦋 (@_chloeinspires_) Our topic for July is Indulgence. Tell us what indulgence means to you, and what are your favourite ways to indulge. Indulgence for me is having time away from the chaos of life - relaxing in nature, reading a book, going on a hike, seeing a friend or family. I love being outdoors and going on adventures like kayaking or surfing and I love to travel! It brings me back to “me” and allows me to re connect with myself and my values. I do also like to indulge in some yummy unhealthy food every so often too- on my holiday recently I indulged in a delicious pizza and yummy scones! How do you strike a balance between indulging in something you enjoy and overindulging to the point of excess? I think this is important as it can become unhealthy if you over indulge too much as this can lead to an addiction. If you are indulging in something excessively it may be because you are unhappy in your life elsewhere, and are using that thing to avoid the pain or discomfort you are feeling in your life. For example, I see sometimes in my clients over-eating due to emotions (emotional eating), which is where they are over-indulging to try and avoid uncomfortable feelings - which inevitably doesn't work and leaves you feeling uncomfortable and guilty. In what ways can indulging in something be beneficial to our mental health and well-being? I guess it is important to take time out from our “go-go” lives where our brains are constantly being stimulated - especially due to our phones. So taking time to indulge in having time out with your friends or alone is important. I also think it is important to indulge in nice foods from time to time - especially in social situations.   View this post on Instagram A post shared by CHLOE THOMAS || ONLINE COACH 🦋 (@_chloeinspires_) How can indulging in certain activities, such as eating or drinking, have negative impacts on our physical health? Over eating or drinking can leave us feeling low in energy, low in mood and tends to exacerbate anxiety, aka “hangxiety” when it comes to alcohol. It can also cause weight gain and inflammation within the body which can lead to auto-immune diseases and illness. It is important to be conscious of not over-indulging in these two things too much - it's about striking that balance between a healthy amount and an excessive amount. How can we practice self-control and limit indulgences in order to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle? I think it is important to think about our future and what damage over indulging can do to our health long term. I try and remind myself of this. And even thinking of how you will feel the next week or day if you over indulge. For example, when I drink too much alcohol I sleep bad, it effects my training, my mood, my cravings etc - so I don’t drink often or in excess. I remind clients to think of their ‘why’ and also where they want to be in 5 months and 5 years time. Can indulgence ever be considered a form of self-care, or is it always a potentially harmful behaviour? I personally think it’s about that balance I mentioned before. For example, on my recent holiday I had a big pizza to myself which was overindulgent BUT I rarely have pizza - think the last time was February! So it’s fine for me to do it once in a while. I think too much indulging in anything is a sign that you may be not content in your life and are looking for something on the outside to soothe something uncomfortable on the inside (mentally speaking). What Innermost product(s) have you been loving recently? Definitely the The Digest Capsules I love them and so do my clients! They help with my bloating and IBS massively. I also love The Relax Capsules for around my period when i have PMS and trouble relaxing. They are great! Our final question is ... What’s your innermost desire that you’re hoping comes true this year? To reach even more women across the world to join my community of women and reach their healthy and fitness goals, build a better relationship with food and learn how to love their body again! I want to get women off fad diets and know there are easier ways to be healthy and lose weight! I would really like to be at the point where I can hold retreats for them by the end of the year. That's a wrap on this months interview questions. Thank you so much Chloe for your time! it’s been a pleasure chatting with you! To keep up with Chloe be sure the follow them on _chloeinspires_ Read more