For months, many people who are used to an in-office lifestyle have been learning to work from home, balancing their life in a very different way than usual. Even employees whose jobs were meant to be remote often struggle with occasional burnout, due to guilt and overworking themselves because of distractions in the home they may not experience in an office environment.
Often, people who work from home are working way more than they do in the office because they haven’t set themselves up with healthy boundaries. And that’s without the extra stress of a pandemic and other outside factors.
So how do you know when you’re suffering from work from home burnout? Let’s chat about a few key signs, and what you can do to avoid future exhaustion and detachment.
Have you always prized yourself on your sharp mind, able to tackle anything thrown your way with finesse? Perhaps, more recently, things have been slipping through the cracks a bit more. Your calendar isn’t serving you, or you are missing deadlines because you just completely forgot. This is often one of the first signs of burnout, and can often make you feel so guilty that those feelings of guilt eat away at you and spiral into avoidance or apathy. Stepping back to assess this is vital for balance.
2. Sleepless nights
Have you been having difficulty staying awake or energized during your workday after a rough night’s sleep, no matter how many copious amounts of coffee you consume? Sleep deprivation is a common sign that you could be reaching the burnout stage. Sleep, as we now know, is key to a productive and successful workday. Only once you reach the second half of deep sleep does cortisol start to increase, so it can be at its highest level when you wake and slowly deplete over the course of your day. Cortisol helps your body to function in so many ways – including regulating metabolism and blood sugar levels, lending to recall and memory function, and reducing inflammation – so it’s important to get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
If you’re struggling to sleep, there could be many underlying causes like stressing out about a work call, topic, or conversation. When a person is stressed, their sleep patterns are affected almost immediately so this is a key factor to consider when assessing where you’re at in your work from home journey.
Do you keep staring at your laptop, but haven’t made a move to check that inbox yet? Are emails piling up, direct messages being avoided, and deadlines just barely being met? Have you felt so plugged in over the last few weeks that all you want to do is unplug, even though it’s not the time to do so? Working from home makes it easier to distract yourself from career work that might need to get done, especially when you’re feeling burnout. Finding new ways to avoid work isn’t going to get your tasks complete, and it certainly won’t make you feel any better. It’s time to balance your life so that you find joy in checking your voicemails, or at least so you don’t feel a sinking feeling in your stomach every time you think about approaching your desk.
Do you find your mind wandering during the day, work duties unable to capture your attention? Has it been more difficult to find the inspiration to commit to your daily tasks, something that used to propel your energy throughout the day? Does your work feel less important than it used to? This is a very striking sign of burnout at any job, and you definitely want to get ahead of it once you notice yourself feeling apathetic. Check out these 5 ways to find passion in your work again.
If you really have been spending a questionable amount of hours attached to your workspace or phone fielding phone calls and other communication regarding work, especially outside of normal operating hours, headaches will crop up quickly. Too much screen time will strain your eyes, causing headaches. Additionally, if you’re not fueling yourself correctly and tending to your needs, dehydration and tension headaches may arise. At the first sign of an uncharacteristic headache or neck pain, you may want to evaluate how you approach your career.
At the first sign of any of these symptoms, block out some time for yourself to check in with your health, mental and physical. Make sure you’re setting boundaries in your schedule, blocking off regular time for yourself, and making sure your body is getting the fuel and movement it needs to function properly. If you’re feeling uninspired, consider rearranging your workspace and incorporating aromatherapy into your routine. When all else fails, these 12 tips should help you avoid work from home burnout altogether.