Lately, I wanted to write something about work-life and spent a lot of time doing topic research. Even though I came across a ton of things to write about, this was something that got my attention.
Because I have been working remotely (both work from home and work from anywhere) for a long time now. So, my experience with burnout is pretty real.
Cozy Clothes, Work from Couch, No Commute, and Yet We are Burned Out.
“Come on, bro. You’re working from your home. It must be chilled. You’re just procrastinating and being lazy.”
This is what my remote colleague told me once when I tried talking about my situation. And I am sure, there are many people like him who think the same way.
Let me get this to you straight.
Working from home is not all sunshine and rainbows.
Here are some facts that need your attention:
- Over 69% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home.
- Despite the exhaustion, people are not taking enough time off to recharge, fearing they could be on the next layoff.
I still remember the days when I would just drop a half-day mail to my manager just to be on the couch and scroll through my Instagram feeds.
Trust me on this. Sometimes the burnouts were so unbearable that I had skipped work with loss of pay.
If someone has ever told you that burnouts are common and you shouldn’t think about it much, then please do not listen to them.
Burnouts can affect your physical and mental well-being to a great degree. And with time, things might go haywire in your work-life if you don’t cope with it well.
So, how to prevent work from home burnout? Are there any ways to actually deal with it?
The answer is a YES.
Read on to find out…
Here is How You Can Deal with Remote Work Burnout
I am not a certified professional in dealing with such scenarios. However, I have tried several ways to mitigate it. Few worked and few didn’t.
All the points I am mentioning here are from my years of experience as a remote blogger.
I suggest you give each of them a read, a thought, and see which ones fit you well. After all, it’s all based on trial and error.
1. Set the tone right for your day
This might be extremely clichéd, but try to start your day early in the morning.
I am a morning person. Because I religiously believe that early risers are often energetic and can get a lot of things done in 24 hours.
If you ask me how I set the right tone for my day, here’s what I do.
I wake up at 5:30 am, drink a glass or two of water, have a cup of black coffee and go to the gym by 6 am.
After coming back from the gym, I freshen up, have my protein shake and breakfast, and then go straight to my workspace.
Now, I don’t start working right away. I play my favourite playlist while going through my email and sorting out the tasks for the day.
My morning routine was a complete mess a few years back. But like I said, I have tried and tested a lot of habits to cope with burnout and this one is definitely the best.
Also, I have figured out that I am the most productive during the early hours of the day.
2. Have a dedicated workplace
Working on the couch or the bed or the dining table has never been my cup of tea. Even during my college days, I used to have a study/work setup in my hostel room.
And even now, I follow the same.
The only difference is that I have converted an entire room into my office. Be it my 9-5, side hustle, or freelancing, the magic happens in this same room (the office).
I used to have a table and chair in my bedroom before I got this office of my own. But the problem there was that I would lie on the bed now and then, and procrastinate.
Now, I am not chest-thumping or boasting, but I have a pretty awesome workspace (and it’s supremely budget-friendly).
3. Take breaks (whenever needed)
I can work for 8 hours at one stretch. No, I am not exaggerating or boasting about it. But, I am telling you this because it is not a healthy practice at all.
Even I am going to change this and take breaks at work, whenever needed.
Many remote or work-from-home employees think that they are already in their cozy space, so breaks aren’t that important.
That’s not true!!
Being too busy working without any break isn’t healthy. Period.
If you have been doing so, it’s time to rethink, slow down, and hit that pause button.
Here are a few things you need to know about taking breaks at work:
- Taking breaks and doing something completely different untangles your brain. You can take a walk, or just sit with your folks for a few minutes, take your dog out, read a magazine, or do anything you like.
According to various studies, we can find solutions to problems when we let our brain wander, and breaks help with just that.
- We all have our moments. When it comes to taking a pause, it’s the same. So, try to determine when your breaks work better. For me, it’s always during the lunch hour, and a few hours before I log out.
- Now, this is important. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’ll keep sitting in your workspace. Leave
your workplace. Because when you have the opportunity, go outside. Make that 5-10 minutes of break count.
- Our brains are just like athletes. It needs rest to function at a greater level and be creative. So, make sure you allow your brain some time to rest and recharge.
- Being busy always takes a toll on our healthy habits. For example, I mostly skip lunch because I feel if I take a break now then I will have to stretch later in the evening. Please, don’t do this.
Take proper breaks to have lunch, take a nap, walk, etc.
4. Don’t be all by yourself (make friends at work)
One of the most common traits I have seen in many remote employees is that they don’t gel well with their colleagues.
This is a very bad habit. Yes, I am actually saying this.
You should be friends with your remote colleagues. Because we all need friends at work.
And this friendship or connection is not just about communication regarding work, you need people with whom you can share things.
If your employer is not treating you correctly, and you want to raise this concern, you certainly need people to support you. And that can only happen when you talk with your colleagues, build a bond, and become good friends.
Now, there’s something more I want to tell you. I don’t know whether it’s correct, but I have to tell you.
There are times when we feel frustrated about work. Our bosses give us a hard time. Our workload increases. We are denied leaves. And whatnot.
Now, when I experience this, I turn to my good (rather, great) friends at work and we rant about it together. And the next day we are working with a fresh mind.
Side Note: I am not promoting office bad-mouthing, politics, or anything of that sort. Rather, I have talked about office politics in one of my blogs. Do give it a read.
5. Try not to procrastinate
It’s 9:00 PM while I am writing this blog. I still have an hour before I wrap up work; but, there’s this thought in the back of my head.
“It’s already night. I think I should probably stop writing now and start tomorrow morning with a fresh mind. Also, it’s Saturday, so I will have the whole day to myself.”
This is exactly how it starts.
Procrastination is putting off or delaying essential tasks until the last minute and it is certainly a trap that many of us fall into.
Why does one procrastinate? There are various reasons, but some of the common ones are poor time management, lack of concentration, anxiety, a negative belief about your capabilities, etc.
But again, this is not something that you cannot overcome. And to help you with that, I have two informative videos for you.
Matt D’Avella and Ali Abdaal are two of my favorite content creators and their videos on overcoming procrastination are great. Do give them a watch.
6. Take vacations, PLEASE!
If you have been looking for ways to avoid burnout while working from home and have failed, this point is certainly going to help you.
Have you watched the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”? I am not asking you to take vacations like the ones in the movie.
I understand some of us have our side hustles to take care of and we do that on weekends. That’s absolutely fine. But at least, give one weekend to yourself. Maybe go to a nearby destination, stay in an Airbnb, cook for yourself, go cycling, or do anything you like.
Take a break from work to rejuvenate that drained and exhausted mind of yours.
It deserves it.
7. Do not work on your week offs
If you look closely, this one is sort of related to the ‘Procrastination’ point.
Most of the remote employees tend to work on week offs; not because they have a heavy workload, but because they have procrastinated the whole week.
Let me get this straight. I know all those quotes and sayings about being dedicated, giving your 100%, respecting your job, and stuff.
But darling, you have a life. You don’t get paid for your week offs.
Do not overwork with the hope that you’ll be noticed by the company and earn that accolade of the most dedicated employee.
The Bottom Line
There was a time when I wasn’t even aware of the term ‘burnout’, but I would experience this every now and then.
I remember telling my manager that I feel really tired and I am not able to concentrate on work. That’s when she said, “You need some break, Harsh! You seem burned out.”
All these years, I have had numerous burnout experiences. But I am glad, that I have tried to figure out how to cope with it.
Avoiding remote work burnout isn’t an easy feat or doesn’t happen overnight. However, it’s something that can be achieved if you understand the ins and outs of it.
If you’re a remote professional and have been falling prey to burnout, I hope the tips mentioned in this article help you deal with it. If I have missed out on something, do let me know in the comments. I will add them to the blog.
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