If you’ve ever experienced work-from-home burnout, then you know the feeling. Trouble focusing, restlessness, headaches, and even a surge in illness can be common symptoms.
I know what burnout feels like, and I am so thankful to have discovered some methods for combating the overwhelming problem of work-from-home burnout.
However, the solution did not come overnight. As with most things, I had to go through a period of trial and error before finding effective solutions.
Tired? Drink more coffee. Trouble focusing? Chide yourself and keep going anyway, or worse yet, give in to procrastination. Restless? Headaches? Illness? Medicate and move on.
Quick fixes help for a time. But here is the problem: the symptoms always come back. So, for me, the first step towards dealing with burnout was to identify the actual source of my trouble.
Identifying the Source of Work-from-home Burnout
Work-from-home Burnout is slightly different for everyone, so I can only speak for myself. In my experience, burnout resulted from a combination of unmet needs—needs that I pushed to the side because parenting, work, and other responsibilities were a priority. As a result, the underlying cause of my burnout symptoms was:
Sound familiar? If so, then maybe you will be glad to discover some tips that not only helped me to combat work-from-home burnout but taught me how to prevent burnout from getting hold of me again.
Remember What You are Thankful for.
When you’re feeling down, the “think positively” jargon can be really annoying. On one hand, it’s healthy to allow yourself to—dare I say—feel things. Even negative things. Yet, thankfulness is good, and redirecting our thoughts to why we wanted to work from home in the first place can be helpful. At least it is for me. I love that working from home allows me to:
- Spend more time with my kids
- Work flexible hours
- Be my own boss
- Experience new challenges
- Grow as an individual
Cultivate Connection with Others.
Working from home can be isolating. As social creatures, we need to foster a connection with other people, and as much as we love our kids, adult interaction is necessary. If adult interaction is missing from your life, then maybe you can:
- Join online groups
- Start a club for something you’re into, like a book club for example
- Arrange play dates for your kids with other work-from-home parents
- Make more time for your significant other
Do Something Spontaneous.
Routine is essential, as all work-from-home parents know. However, going through the same motions day after day can become draining. If one day bleeds into the next—or one week into the next—then maybe it is time to break things up by doing something out of the ordinary. It doesn’t have to be some big thing. Maybe just a trip to the park with the kids or going out for ice cream is all you need to break the monotony. You can also:
- Go for a quick drive around town
- Call a friend and have a lunch date
- Do something new with the house
- Surprise a loved one with a gift or act of kindness
Accept a New Challenge.
As a goal-oriented person, I get bored when things get stale, so working towards a new challenge is a must for me. If you’re the same, then think of something you’ve always wanted to do or learn more about and go for it. Even if you only devote 15 minutes a day towards your new passion, your brain will thank you for the stimulation. Need some ideas? Maybe you can:
- Read or listen to a book
- Consider a new business venture
- Learn an artform
- Enroll in a class or online course
Get Moving and Go Outside.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to illness and emotional health issues. If you work inside at your desk all day, then you are probably not getting enough Vitamin D because sunlight is the best source. Try taking a walk or sit outside for 10-15 minutes a day and see if this helps improve your mood and focus. You might also enjoy:
- Kayaking or boating
On a related note, exercise can help so much with your energy, mood, and focus. If you’re not used to exercising, it can be hard to start. I know, because that is where I am at right now! I used to enjoy running, but I have not held a regular workout routine in almost ten years. As of now, I plan to:
- Watch a basic workout routine on YouTube with my kids each morning
- Play more with the kids outside
When you have a lot of work to and burnout is in full force, then create a reward system. For example, if you like to use social media then you can reward yourself with a 15-minute screen-time break after completing two hours of work. In any case, I think it is good to:
- Break up the day with periodic times of rest and reward
- Prioritize at least one day off each week
- Foster consistent sleep patterns
- Take a vacation at least once a year
Beating Work-from-home Burnout
Burnout is an unfortunate reality for many people, whether they work-from-home or not. Thankfully, we do not have to let burnout get the best of us.
From my personal experience, work-from-home burnout means that something is wrong, so pay attention, identify your needs, and solve the problem at the source. There are many things you can do, so don’t be discouraged. You can combat burnout, overcome, grow, and find fulfillment.