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5 Ways to Avoid Working-From-Home Burn Out

Now more than ever, more and more people are working from home (“WFH”). And for some, the switch happened suddenly. Winter was starting to melt into spring, things were business as usual, and then Wham! …change came at us fast and hard.

When we started WFH, no one really had any clue how long it’d last. As time wore on, the pros and cons of working from home became more apparent. We enjoyed not having to wear real pants and not having to deal with traffic in the morning, but we hate all the miscommunication through email and lack of separation between work and leisure.

After doing this for so long, you might be starting to feel lethargic, low energy, lonely, unmotivated, easily distracted, and your productivity and overall wellness may be starting to suffer. Before COVID, we already lived in a world where work was constantly creeping into our days off and family engagements. Now, that boundary is very loose and there are implications.

These are symptoms associated with Working From Home Burnout.

And, yes, it is a real thing that many people are dealing with right now. But, don’t worry, because there are things you can do to avoid WFH burnout.

  1. Prioritize Your Health and Wellness

Remember, you’re a human being. Not a robot. That means you need breaks, nourishment, and TLC. I mean, come on, even robots need to be troubleshot on a regular basis. Take care of yourself by:

  • Moving your body EVERY. DAY. Whether that’s taking a walk, doing some stretches, having a dance party, or your preferred workout sequence.

  • Drinking water. Do not underestimate the power of clean hydration.

  • Nourishing yourself with food. I know, it’s so easy to eat potato chips while working from home. But make sure you also get solid nourishment from real, nutrient-dense food. Which also brings us to…

  • Take breaks. Lunch breaks, walking breaks, stretching your legs breaks. Again, we’re not robots. Yet even they need time to refresh and update.

  • Blue Light Blocking Glasses. Long periods of time looking at screens can do damage to your eyes and make you feel more tired. They’re worth it (wearing mine right now).

2. Maintain Good Hygiene and Get Dressed in the Morning

It’s so easy to stay in the pj’s, to not do your hair, and to keep wearing the same clothes day after day.  But after awhile, not taking care of our hygiene and appearance can start to negatively affect our energy, our motivation, and our self-esteem. Some good WFH wardrobe suggestions are:

  • Have a morning routine again. One where you shower, fix the bed-head, and actually look at yourself in the mirror.

  • Ladies, instead of the pant suit and heels, try a comfy dress, leggings with a cute ‘n’ comfy top, or a colorful sweater! Add a few accessories that make you feel expressed and adorned.

  • Gentlemen, instead of the suit and tie, try comfy jeans and a sweater or stylish shirt. And maybe be a little more mindful with the upkeep of your facial hair.

3. Separate “Work Time” from “Home Time”

Trying to combine the two is burning the candle at both ends. There needs to be boundaries. Start with these suggestions:

  • Structure your days by scheduling “work time” vs “home time”. When scheduling “work time,” don’t forget to add in breaks. Working eight hours+ straight repeatedly is a recipe for a WFH burnout disaster.

  • When it’s “home time,” put the phone on airplane mode or turn off notifications. Unless your job description truly, truly dictates it, don’t take work calls or look at emails unless it’s “work time.”

  • Create a designated working space. Maybe working from the couch was fun at first, but now your back is hurting, the kids have spilled liquid dangerously close to the laptop about seven times, and you’re finding it really hard to focus. Whether you have an at-home office or have to make due with your kitchen table, make sure your working space sets you up for success so when it is “work time,” you’re actually getting things done.

  • Have the difficult conversation. Is there pressure from coworkers or bosses to be working 24/7 now? If so, and if it’s causing an issue, it’s time to have a conversation about clarifying WFH expectations.

4. Establish Your “Mental Transition”

Did you used to have a  morning commute ritual? Such as listening to “pump up music” on the way to work and “decompress music” on your way home? Having a system or ritual in place to tell your brain when it’s time to focus and when it’s time to relax will really help you when working from home. Try some of the following:

  • Take a walk or have a dance party right before “work time” to get the blood pumping and get the body ready to focus.

  • Listen to a guided meditation after “work time” to help you settle back into the present moment.

  • Begin “work time” with some productivity centered affirmations, like “I am focused. I will succeed. I am ready to achieve my goals.” And finish up working time with some mindfulness affirmations, like, “I am allowed to relax. I am allowed to enjoy my life. Taking time for myself is easy and fulfilling for me.”

  • After “work time,” take a few minutes in silence to just focus on your breathing.

5. Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Coworkers

I know, I know. Angela from accounting may have been really grating on your nerves and not having to smell Phyllis’ perfume is a giant plus with WFH. But, you have to admit, you’re starting to really miss intellectual conversations with Oscar, laughing with Kelly, and pulling pranks with Jim and Pam. (#TheOffice)

WFH life can be down-right isolating and lonely. Remember, we’re social creatures and need social interaction. The key is having a supportive, motivating, engaging community to keep feeling connected, uplifted, and grounded.

  • Join a virtual community! Whether it’s with coworkers, like-minded individuals, or through a coworking membership, having social interaction, even virtually, can do wonders for feeling supported and connected to others.

  • Join a coworking space! As we integrate back to being in-person, there are many things we can do to share space and stay safe. There are huge benefits to joining a coworking space, so keep reading to learn more.

So what if you’ve tried or been trying all of these things and you’re still struggling? We have the perfect solution for you.

Joining a Coworking Space, either virtually or in-person, can prevent WFH Burnout.

How does a virtual membership at a coworking space benefit me?

  • Community, community, support, and community.

  • Having accountability buddies to practice TLC with.

  • The incentive to not look like a zombie while on a video chat.

  • People to brainstorm with, learn from, and be inspired by.

  • Virtual workshops that keep you in a state of expansion and growth.

How does being a member of a coworking space benefit me?

  • Community, community, support, and community.

  • Take breaks and practice TLC with other members, such as going for a walk, doing some yoga, or participating in meditation.

  • Having a change of scenery and people to interact with will increase your motivation while keeping you sharp and engaged.

  • Establishing boundaries and a mental transition between “work time” and “home time” will become so much easier. You’ll be amazed by how much more balanced you feel.

  • Virtual workshops that keep you in a state of expansion and growth.

  • You’ll gain connection, support, and interaction with other WFH members.

You no longer need to struggle with Working From Home Burnout.

Yes, things have changed and we have to adapt. But that doesn’t mean that you have to struggle. WFH Burnout is real and can be really hard to work through. But with these tips, we hope you’re able to transition from WFH Burnout to WFH Balance!

Find your WFH Balance with Haven Collective.

Written by April Warner

References: Hubstaff, Forbes, Ashley Stahl, US News.

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