More of us are working from home than ever before. Between those who are still working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions to those who have made the transition to self-employment, conventional ideas of what a typical “office” looks like have begun to vanish. Along with this shift in the physical office space has come a change in how people work. The typical work-life boundaries that have been in place for decades have now begun to erode. “Leaving” work is no longer a physical act, and as a result, shutting off for the day is becoming much more challenging.
Create a daily self-care routine.
Having a consistent self-care routine is essential to thriving. No matter your industry or schedule, everyone needs to take care of their physical and mental health to thwart the effects of burnout. Research has backed this claim many times over, revealing that self-care activities can reduce stress levels, decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even boost your immune system.
If your self-care routine could use a lift — or if you don’t yet have a self-care routine — now is the time to begin practicing wellness-focused actions. Exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, eating nourishing foods, and the like are all critical in restoring your mental health. If you don’t know where to get started, working with a wellness consultant can be highly beneficial.
Utilize employer-provided mental health benefits.
Those who are full-time employees may have a wealth of unused mental health benefits at their disposal. If you’ve not yet explored what your company provides, now is the time to do so. For example, some employers offer benefits such as paid counseling sessions through their employee assistance programs (EAPs). This can include both in-person and online counseling sessions. Additionally, some organizations support employee mental health through flexible scheduling, providing access to wellbeing coaches, free meditation app subscriptions, and written resources on various mental health conditions.
Take time off.
One of the best ways to begin healing from burnout is to schedule time off. Although this sometimes isn’t possible, even one extra day off can go a long way in recharging your batteries. If you have unpaid PTO or paid vacation, consider using one or more of those days. Explore the idea of taking as much time off as you are allowed. Whether you choose to stay at home or go somewhere during this time, stepping away from your work routine can be extremely restorative. If you’ve been struggling significantly and need to take several weeks off to recover, taking a leave of absence could also be an option.
Open up to close friends and family.
Vulnerability is crucial for maintaining good mental health. When we open up to others and disclose our struggles, we can enhance our connection with others, decrease our stress levels, and reduce feelings of loneliness. Select (at minimum) one or two trusted individuals in your life, and have a conversation with them about your challenges. More people than you may realize are going through the same struggles with burnout and working from home. By opening up, you may even create a safe space for someone you love to share their own struggles.
Rather than ignoring the symptoms of burnout, it is incredibly important to address your mental health concerns right away. If left unchecked, these struggles may get worse. If you are feeling far more depressed and anxious than you’ve ever felt before, don’t wait to speak with a mental health professional. Seeking support is the most effective way to start feeling like yourself again.