The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in millions of people around the world transitioning into the work-from-home mode to curb the spread of the infection.
In this new mode, the boundaries between personal and professional life have blurred, and consequently, the risk of burnout has increased significantly too. Juggling everything at once, including work, house chores, and looking after the family, amidst this pandemic can get overwhelming and be detrimental to our health and well-being.
Here are some habits and steps we can adopt to be able to cope with this new reality more efficiently, without letting it take a toll on our health, and minimize the chances of a burnout:
- Follow a Routine
Managing time with so many things needing our attention can get difficult and the remedy to this chaos is defining structure. Work out how you can fragment your time to different tasks by experimenting with different schedules and choose one that works best. Follow the same routine everyday as best as you can, including your meal and sleep schedules. Try and set specific times to start and finish work if possible, even if work spills over these timelines on most days. Remember to include regular breaks to refresh – set reminders if you must.
- Practice Self-Care/Make Time for Yourself
In a bid to tend to both work and family, we often forget to pay attention to our own health and well-being. Thus, it has become even more important that we make time for ourselves and practice self-care.
Set some quiet alone time aside every day, maybe like a tea break, which will allow you to collect your thoughts and refocus calmly. Ensure you eat regularly, shower every day, and get adequate sleep. Make time to indulge in your hobbies.
All the more, staying indoors and sitting for long hours makes it essential to get some physical activity such as yoga or home workouts. While these might seem like very little things, they can go a long way in ensuring a healthy lifestyle.
- Minimizing your Workspace
When working from home, most of us tend to carry our laptop with us as we move around the house. Since this makes us accessible no matter where we are, it weakens the line between our personal and work lives. At the office, there were designated spaces for work: we didn’t really carry the laptop into the kitchen. But it’s not possible to apply this approach at home.
By designating a specific space at home for work, you carve out the areas which contain the work life. This helps stop it from spilling into more personal spaces. Also, this helps your brain differentiate when you’re working and when you’re not. Stepping out of your workspace for some time makes your brain recognize it as a break and this gives time to reset.
- Share the load
Apart from work, there are also groceries to be bought, laundry to be done, meals to be cooked and dishes to be washed. The list of tasks to be checked off while working from home is endless and can get daunting for any person to do.
Lending hands and helping each other out is the need of the hour in this pandemic. Different members of the family can take responsibility for different tasks. Those with children can assign them the more simple and doable tasks such as dusting, which will not only keep them engaged while you work but also take some off the load off your hands.
Those living alone can ask neighbors to help them out when needed. Share the load, and wherever you need it, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
- Digital Detox
Having to stay indoors, we are constantly switching between staring at our laptop, phone or television screens, and are continuously exposed to an influx of digital information. This not only strains our eyes but also demands our time and attention. Take regular detox breaks to shut out all the digital noise and spend some time in quiet. Instead, you could either read a book, or squeeze a board game in with the family.
Furthermore, the blue light from the screens puts off sleep, thus it is advisable that we stop using these devices at least an hour before bedtime to ensure good sleep.
- Maintain Connections
We’re all facing these challenging times, and support is more important than ever. Spend time talking with friends and family members, stay connected with colleagues, and check on your neighbors when you can.
The support and camaraderie that comes with staying connected with loved ones, whether you live alone or with people, can help a lot in destressing and curbing burn-out.
- Be kind to yourself
With so many tasks to be coordinated, it is normal to feel like you haven’t done enough even if you’ve been working all day. The anxiety and pressure that follows not only affects out productivity but also leads to stress.
The truth is that we’re all in the middle of a crisis right now, and we must learn to set expectations accordingly, both from our ourselves as well as others. It is important to productive at work and do a good job, yes, but it is just as essential to redefine what is ‘good enough’ while taking into consideration our health. Do not push yourself too hard such that it affects your physical or mental health.
These are just some suggestions that can help us strike a balance in these trying times and look after ourselves both mentally and physically. While we aren’t sure how long this situation will last, we all need to find ways to make our circumstances work for us – and help others do the same – until we emerge safely from this pandemic.