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Nobody could have guessed how long our work-from-home arrangement will end up stretching for when this pandemic had started. Nonetheless, we’ve spent the last few months adapting to this change. From learning how to operate ‘Zoom’ to working out of our pyjamas—it is safe to say that the past few months have required us to accept a lot of changes.
You can’t deny that work-from-home has become a culture at this point. However, it is blurring the line between our personal and professional lives, while we all grapple with the reality of an insecure future due to this pandemic. Is it any wonder that many of us are experiencing burnout? The past few weeks have seen people getting increasingly vocal about the effects of the pandemic, especially on our mental health.
What is burnout?
In simple words, burnout is caused due to prolonged stress. It can feel like you’re exhausted to the point where you can’t function well and cannot prove to be fully productive in terms of work.
A paper published in PubMed Central describes signs of burnout as:
“Some signs of burnout include feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, lacking energy, empty and unmotivated, and unable to meet your daily demands. You may feel an increase in irritability, notice increased conflict in your relationships, or feel like you want to crawl into your bed and never get out. You feel stuck, exhausted, and hopeless.”
There’s no doubt that this pandemic has caused prolonged stress but we need to take active steps to keep ourselves mentally healthy. And if you feel like you’re reached the stage of burnout, then here are some tips to help you deal:
1. Acknowledge that this is a normal response to an unprecedented situation
Before the coronavirus hit, work from home was treated as a ‘half-holiday’ or a less stressful day. The pandemic has meant that we’ve been working from home for close to half a year and we can easily say that it isn’t exactly as relaxing as we thought it would be.
Many are working beyond the evening and into the nights, while others are powering through pay cuts with a lack of job security. As the boundary between our professional and personal spaces has diminished, we’ve found ourselves overworked and going on without a break. Hence, it isn’t any surprise that we’re absolutely tired and stressed while living through days where the future is uncertain.
In such a situation, it is important to acknowledge the fact that burnout right now is a normal response to the amount of stress we’re under. Doing so will enable us to take steps to deal it better.
2. Take breaks throughout the day
Given that the line between personal and professional is getting blurred, it is important to take short breaks throughout the day to refresh yourself. Brew yourself a cup of green tea, listen to your favourite song, squeeze a short yoga session, take a power nap, or just pick up the phone to speak with a colleague. These brief breaks will go a long way in ensuring that your mind stays fresh and you’re able to be more productive with your work.
3. Stick to a routine
Coronavirus has deprived us of a fixed routine. From our sleep cycle to mealtimes, everything seems to be in flux. This really adds to the sense of instability we’ve all been experiencing due to the pandemic. However, having a routine can restore the feeling of semblance and stability in your life. You can start your day with a workout session at home and ensure that you’re following your morning skincare routine and fix your timings for meals.
4. Limit social media time
Social media is important to access important information and keep yourself updated about any further developments regarding this pandemic. However, social media is also flooded with sensationalised news and misinformation which can contribute to stress. Hence, limit your social media use. Use it to stay connected with your loved ones and access news from verified websites only.
We’re all going through a lot of stress which is affecting our mental health and leading to burnout. And if you feel like you just can’t handle it anymore, don’t hesitate in speaking with a professional.