How to Combat Burnout at Work

When the pandemic was officially announced on March 11, 2020, the “work from home” setup was a welcome change. It was met with optimism. Virtual meeting app like Zoom became an instant hit. Their stock had a dramatic rise. That was during the “honeymoon period”. The period can range from 3 months to 6 months depending on your tolerance level.

But six (6) months after, this “work from home” or more aptly known as “wfh” life has begun to take its toll. Fast forward to 9 months, then to a year and as of this writing, we are on the 15th month of the “wfh” life. The optimism has worn out.

People, if they can help it, are trying to “wiggle out” from “being a prisoner at home” environment.

Still, to some, it was a “boon”. To others, it has become a “bane”.

The burnout from this “wfh” life has gradually seeped into everyone’s mental and physical state so you see manifestations of increased levels of either:

  1. anxiety;
  2. depression;
  3. fatigue;
  4. inability to sleep;
  5. headaches or worse, migraines;
  6. moodiness;
  7. feeling of pressure;
  8. procrastination.

The list goes on and on and believe me, these are real manifestations I have gathered from colleagues, friends, even from some of my clients.

That being said, how does one combat this ever pervading “wfh” life long even the pandemic is gone (think 2 to 3 years down the road)?

First, since personal life and work often overlap at home, you need to distinguish when you do “personal” things at home and when you “work” at home. That means, you need to try hard to differentiate the two. It’s like living the pre-pandemic life. When you’re at home, you don’t work after coming from the office. You do things differently. And when you work, you work 100% and just do “occasional breaks” such as “power naps”, drinking coffee, which you used to do at work.

When you focus on two different things, there is deliberate mindfulness. You get things done. You are more efficient.

Whereas, when you work and you have to deal with domestic issues at home “while at work” at home; habitual practice like this can add to the burnout effect. So, first things first. Set aside when dealing with work and “avoid doing things at home” overlap “with working at home”.

Virtual meetings for one should leave no room for any disturbances. Lock the room. Don’t let anyone be seen from your behind. In fact, position your table where no one should be passing through at your back. And no personal messages from a family member or anyone at home who is not part of the meeting.

Same thing when you do personal stuff. When you watch for example, do not answer emails in between. When you read a book, enjoy finishing a chapter. When you attend online spiritual services (which I do regularly), ignore text messages. You can answer them later.

The “wfh” life is here to stay, I believe, even after the pandemic will be lifted. Some companies are already preparing for that mix: a few days of work in the office and some days at work in a regular weekday.

Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

If I may add, prioritize your health. And by this, it could mean any of the following:

  1. Get enough rest and sleep; If you can afford “power naps” in between, all the more that you should take it;
  2. Drink plenty of water;
  3. If you find yourself mostly tied up inside your home, drink lots of vitamins; if you can buy one, get yourself Vitamin D. It is said to provide the same vitamins when basking in the sun without the sunlight.
  4. For peace of mind, get yourself a health coverage. Dalai Lama once said, and I paraphrase it, “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.” If this were the case, it’s better to be ready with a health insurance or coverage so that you won’t have to spend all your savings if you get critically ill.

The “wfh” life is here to stay since the “new normal”. We better adapt to it instead of suffering because of it and we can only mitigate its effect by being mindful in this new setup.

About the author.

Ronnie Reyes advocates Filipino families to be prepared for the unexpected. One way to prepare for the unexpected is to fund your family’s health coverage.

Contact him for your health requirements.

You can reach him at +63917 796 2530 or email him at reyes.ronnie@gmail.com.

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