How COVID Is Causing Burnout and 5 Tips to Avoid It
It’s pretty fair to say that we’re all living with quite different experiences when it comes to how COVID has affected our work and our lives. For some parents, it’s been an absolute godsend, getting rid of the commute and giving them more time to spend with their families. The same is true for the childless amongst us, whose jobs can be completed effectively from home, leaving more time for life, thanks to the reduction in drive time.
Those are the positives. But unfortunately, many people didn’t quite luck out in this way. For a significant number of people, COVID has applied intense pressure to their lives, and burnout is on the rise.
How COVID is Causing Burnout
While WFH life may look idyllic from some vantage points, the reality is that it challenges every single one of us. Even if the new circumstances suit us, we’re aware that companies are struggling, jobs security is up in the air, and we’re faced with challenges that many of us are learning on the fly.
Where we once used to have office hours, we’re all currently our own timekeepers. In an environment where we’re worried about job security, this is causing around 13% of workers to put in more hours than usual. Some because their boss is applying unrealistic expectations, and many others because, quite simply, it’s hard to separate work and life when they exist in the same space.
According to the COVID-19 People Survey conducted by Springfox, 55% of participants sighted that their primary source of stress was due to changes to ways of working. The reaction for many people has been to compensate this stress with hyper-engagement in their work, inevitably impacting mental health and contributing to burnout.
5 Tips to Avoid COVID Burnout
Managing oneself is not always as easy as we may think. When the lines between work and private are blurred, setting boundaries, working to a routine or structure, helps to solidify those lines, and your boundaries help you to stay within them. If your work technically operates around set hours, then set boundaries around when you work and when you do not. If your days are more about delivery, then set goals around what you need to deliver so you can happily log off for the day. Be reasonable to yourself, track your days and be disciplined– it’s all about forming a habit.
Mindfulness has been widely adopted as a way to manage stress, touted by tech entrepreneurs, CEOs and anyone looking to get a little peace back into their days. Not only can mindfulness help you to calm down if you’re feeling stressed, but the very act of being mindful with your work will help you to catch yourself when you’re over-working so that you can consciously assess if it’s necessary, or you’re on autopilot run by your stress. Try Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer for a daily dose of zen.
#Discuss Your Workload
If you’re working overtime because you’re under pressure feeling that people can’t see that you’re working, try instead to communicate what you’re achieving through your days. Send your boss a daily or weekly wrap up of all that you’ve done. Try to be vocal in internal conversations about what you’re up to, and reassure yourself that it’s about what you have actually done, not what people notice.
#Schedule Time For Yourself
We are forever recommending that people adopt a Kanban board, and we’re going to say it one more time. If you’re getting sucked into overwork and forgetting about time for yourself, use a Kanban board to keep yourself honest. Schedule in time for exercise, relaxing, self-care, education, or whatever else makes you feel like a happier, more complete person so that work doesn’t make up the entirety of your life.
#Put Yourself First
Ultimately you cannot deliver for your company if you succumb to burnout. You need to accept that you have to come first. If you’re feeling forced to work yourself into the ground, it may be time to give us a call and discuss a position that lets you shine, without burning you out.
For more great tips on how to handle life under the influence of COVID, check out our blog.