Working from home can change what work looks like, and for all the upsides, there are also many downsides, including being out and about less, being apart from our colleagues, balancing other commitments and working longer hours.
The lines between work and home can sometimes blur and these downsides can be stressful. If this stress goes unchecked, it can lead to burnout. With many Australians working from home right now, and remote work becoming more popular, more of us may face this particular kind of burnout. So, if you’re working from home, how can you maintain your wellbeing and avoid work-from-home burnout? Health and wellbeing psychologist, Dr Marny Lishman, offered her advice in a recent Seek article.
Work burnout is a special type of stress and is described as a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. Physical signs of burnout can include exhaustion, changes in sleeping patterns and increased illness, such as headaches, colds and flus. When someone is chronically stressed over a long period of time, it impacts hugely on their psychological and physical wellbeing and flows into other areas of their life, such as relationships.
Dr Marny Lishman provides her top tips for beating burnout and these include:
Keep moving: Working from home can mean fewer opportunities to be active, and a tendency to stay at your desk. Lishman suggests taking regular breaks throughout the day, away from your desk and ideally outside.
Take a break: Breaks throughout the day are important, but longer time off matters too. Lishman recommends ensuring you take your annual leave and book in a holiday, even if it’s only for shorter local trips or a rest.
Get enough rest: Working late into the night can be a common occurrence for people working from home. To feel fully rested, Lishman suggests going to bed and waking at the same time every day and implementing a routine to help you unwind each night.
Talk it out: Just talking about your stresses can make you feel better,” Lishman says. “A friend, family member or professional can offer advice and an objective opinion which may help you manage your work and emotions better.”
Fuel your body: Finding yourself at home with a full stocked pantry and fridge can lead to a cycle of continuous snacking.“Fuelling your body with nutritious food and water will help you stay physically well and mentally alert and focused,” says Lishman. “Moderating your alcohol intake will also help.”
Set boundaries: It can be hard to rest or relax when work starts to creep into your home life, but that’s where boundaries can help. “Put boundaries and expectations in place with your employers about your workload and your hours and don’t be tempted to work weekends,” Lishman says. Set yourself a regular start and finish time, and turn notifications off after you have ‘left’ work for the day.
Burnout can happen in all sorts of situations where there’s stress. But when we work from home, the blurring of work and home life can make it especially important to stop stress from going unchecked. If you feel that your current work situation is causing you burnout and you are unsure how to handle this with your employer or manager, our Career Coach can work with you on setting guidelines and strategies, and assist you with goal setting and finding your passion again.