How To Combat Burnout and the Pandemic Wall

Working over the last year can feel like hitting a series of walls –– each one bigger than the last. If you’re feeling that way, rest assured you are not alone and there are steps to combat the stressors. Here are ways to fight off burnout. 

Ask for the help you need
Managers and organizations can support you if they know what you need. Different situations may require different intervention strategies. For example, struggling to meet caretaker responsibilities with childcare when kids are learning from home could be alleviated with a schedule change, including working nights instead of days. For someone who feels immersed in the “always-on” digital workplace, requesting vacation days off could also help. Make sure to discuss openly your needs so they can be addressed. 

Enlist the buddy or mentor system
Workplace relationships are extremely important for well-being, but they can be more difficult to maintain when everyone is remote. It may take intentionally reaching out for virtually “grabbing coffee” or checking in with a colleague, mentor or supervisor who can help provide mental, logistical or emotional support. Don’t overlook the simple power of connecting, even if that means a virtual hangout. 

Proactively help others
If you are struggling, that means others are no doubt feeling the same way. Reaching out and providing a compliment, offering to help with a workload or sending someone a lunch delivery will help them and has the added benefit of giving you an emotional boost. Research has shown that kindness is one of the fastest ways to elevate mood and boost resiliency. 

Set boundaries and know when to turn off
Even the highest performer can only run on adrenaline so long. The body and mind needs downtime and regular rest periods. Intersperse periods of intense focus with downtime and recovery. The rhythms of hard work and rest need to balance over time. Set time with boundaries to unplug with peace of mind and come back rejuvenated. 

Finally, remember the basics: Take a lunch break in your day, walk around your neighborhood and get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep to help make sure you’re on the top of your game. Work will still be there when you return, more rested, motivated and focused to keep moving forward.  

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