How To Avoid Burnout Working From Home?

A recent Gallup poll revealed that nearly a quarter of American workers feel permanently burned out and that many, many more feel it sometimes.

The good news is that you don’t have to join them.

In fact, we’ve got some very simple ways to avoid burnout when working from home. 

The Warning Signs Of Burnout

How do you know if you’re suffering from burnout in the first place? 

Work Burnout

Well, we’re all different but there are some warning signs that should prompt you to take action:

  • Physical symptoms – headaches, racing heart, indigestion, etc.
  • Job performance – has it taken a dive recently?
  • Job focus – can’t focus on tasks or keep forgetting what you’ve done?
  • Hate for your job – you feel cynical or even loathing towards the job
  • Tiredness – from lethargy, to lazy, to unmotivated to chronic fatigue
  • Anger – you’re either irritable or you’re short-tempered
  • Sleep – you can’t sleep properly
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Other people – if you’re getting comments about how you’ve changed for the worse

It’s important to note that each of these things can arise for other reasons but the more symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you’re feeling burnout. 

17 Actions To Take To Avoid Burnout When Working From Home

  1. Take a walk – walking is not only great exercise but if you can get out into nature for a bit, then research suggests that just seeing green trees, etc. can make you feel a lot better.
  2. Take a break – if you find yourself sitting hunched over your laptop for hours at a time, stop. Set your alarm on your phone or computer once an hour and take, at least, a 5 minute break when it goes off.
  3. Take a day off – when you work from home, you can find that the boundaries between work and real life become blurred. Taking a day off and indulging yourself can really help re-establish them.
  4. Use rewards to motivate yourself – a cup of coffee after 10 e-mails, a pizza when you hit your month’s target, a chat with an old friend when the PITA admin is done, that kind of thing.
  5. Find an accountability buddy – it’s not as lame as it sounds. Having a friend that helps you keep track of yourself can be super useful.
  6. Use relaxation techniques – our article on how to meditate when home working can help here as can our guide to exercises you can do while home working.
  7. Cook for yourself – not only is this healthier than another doorstep delivery from McD’s but the act of cooking is relaxing in itself.
  8. Consider yoga – you can find loads of cool “how to yoga at home” instruction videos on YouTube and the stretching exercises and gentle workout can really help you de-stress.
  9. Take a vacation – home workers accrue vacation time just like office workers do. However, they may be less inclined to use them. Don’t be scared – take some real time off and leave the work behind. This can really help you put things into perspective.
  10. Procrastinate sometimes – you can’t put everything off until tomorrow but you can often put less urgent tasks off to another day. This can really reduce the pressure you put on yourself.
  11. Don’t work weekends – well, unless they’re in your contract to be worked, that is. You’re not a slave because you work from home. Define when work ends on a Friday and when it begins on Monday and stop working between those times.
  12. Eat for your health – years of crisps, burgers and pizzas are going to eventually take their toll on you. If you eat salads and fresh veggies, you’re going to be in better shape to deal with any stress.
  13. Don’t take prescription drugs to deal with your stress. Seriously. A temporary fix can quickly become a permanent one. The secret to a better life is relaxation time, healthy eating, exercise and defining boundaries not Prozac.
  14. Give yourself permission to be human. Yes, you’re not infallible and that’s OK. As soon as you let yourself be human, you’ll start to manage your life with less emphasis on perfection and more on “good enough” and that will make things much easier.
  15. Listen to music. Listening to music as you work can make you feel better. Check out this article for some ideas on what music to listen to when remote working.
  16. Phone a friend. No, this isn’t Who Wants to be A Millionaire, but feeling connected can really make you feel happier. Take 20 minutes and phone somebody and have a chat.
  17. Talk to your boss or colleagues. You’re not going to be of any use at work if you burn out. If you talk to your boss they may be able to help you better define what matters so that you can focus on that and cut out any busy work. 

Final Notes

Forbes magazine recently reported that over 50% of American workers are suffering from burnout. There’s no need for you to join them.

Take action today and make life easier for yourself. 

And it’s worth noting that there’s one final option you can take if you do everything on our list and it doesn’t work. Find another, less stressful job.