How to avoid work from home burnout and maintain harmony in your house
While the Coronavirus is not a novelty anymore, its effects are still being felt worldwide. It’s almost a year since the WHO declared the virus a pandemic and everyone is still trying to adjust to the new ways of learning, working and living, all of which are now happening almost entirely at home.
Sure, there are plenty of perks to working from home, such as not having to commute, get all dressed up and fancy in the morning or spending more time with the ones you love, but there are also plenty of worries many can’t seem to shake off.
Most of these worries come from the uncertainty of the future. Will there be a return to the office soon? When can everyone go out for lunch again? How soon can will there be walks in the park again? These are all questions that, unfortunately, don’t have a clear answer yet.
Understanding and overpowering habits
Humans are creatures of habit, meaning there is an autopilot that kicks in and helps to navigate the modern world. Take, for example, driving a car. When getting in a vehicle, one doesn’t have to actively think about all the actions to perform to get the car started. Buckle the seat belt, turn the engine on, press the gas pedal and drive.
The reason everyone is finding it difficult to adapt to a new way of living is precisely the fact of being forced to break out of these habits immediately. These drastic changes can leave one feeling disoriented, easily tired, unproductive and anxious.
Burnout happens when asking too much of oneself. When personal and professional life are forced to come together under the same roof, there is a high chance of feeling overwhelmed. There is no way to know whether these habit changes are temporary or permanent, so worrying about the future will not help.
The only thing to do is focus on the present and take things one step at a time, creating new and healthy habits that will add to maintaining harmony in the home, regardless of who it’s shared with.
Below are just a few ideas for staying mentally healthy while juggling personal and professional life.
Communication is key
For those who live in the same house as others, be them a spouse, kids, best friend or roommates, it’s important to establish clear boundaries so that everyone understands what they can and cannot do.
When parenting and business meet, there are going to be clashes. The best thing to do is communicate with kids and explain to them that being at home doesn’t mean there aren’t other responsibilities to take care of. Just as they need to keep up with school and homework, adults need to keep up their jobs.
It may help if all the household members post their schedule so that the other family members can know when they should or should not disturb each other.
Don’t ask too much of yourself
Working from home in the middle of a pandemic is not the same as working for home from choice. With other adults and kids wandering around the house, it can get quite difficult to balance things out.
Sure, everyone want things to work out perfectly, especially after sitting together and discussing rules, concerns, potential issues and all these sorts of things. Why are there still challenges?
No matter how certain one might be that things are sorted, there are lots of unexpected situations that can appear. Don’t expect things to work out perfectly, because this will only put a strain on mental health. Instead, remember that everyone is int he same position and doing their best to balance things out. Deadlines are going to be missed, kids are going to cry in the background during video calls and dogs will bark when there’s an important phone call. This is life at its purest and there is one thing to do: accept it.
Use technology to your advantage
While this is not the only pandemic this world has experienced, it’s the first one happening in the era of connectivity. Fortunately, there are lots of tools to assist in overcoming distractions and other obstacles.
Use a time-tracking app to monitor how much work has been done and to remind when it’s time to take a break. It’s incredible how easy it is to get distracted even if there is no co-worker around to ask about lunch plans and how 10 minutes of browsing the internet can quickly turn into half an hour of lost time.
If mental wellbeing is challenged, technology can help find the help needed. Seeking professional therapy may not be the first thing to come to mind during a time when limit physical contact should be limited as much as possible, but online counselling is an option. There are plenty of platforms, such as UK Therapy Guide, which pair clients with professional therapists regardless of their location. Most of these therapists offer online counselling sessions that can be attended from the comfort of home.
Start your day the right way
When working from home, it may be tempting to roll out of bed and straight to the computer, but this turns out to be more counterproductive. Give the brain time to adjust to the new day and focus on developing a morning routine.
Wake up, do some light exercises, eat a healthy breakfast, have a coffee, take a shower and get dressed. By keeping a routine close to how it used to be, the brain won’t be overwhelmed with the feeling of change and it will help maintain focus. Feel free to adjust a routine, but resist the urge to jump out of bed and get straight to work.
The editorial unit