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Finding balance and preventing burnout
COVID-19 has had a major impact on the emotional well-being of the workforce. A common term used to describe this impact is “burnout.” Burnout is a reaction to stress from work. Exhaustion, negativity towards your work, and feeling a lack of accomplishment are 3 common traits of burnout. Burnout can lead to clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. You can prevent or lessen burnout by setting work-life boundaries and/ or trying work-life integration.
Work-life boundaries include setting firm limits on your space and time spent at work. This may be challenging for remote workers who lack a physical separation between work and home. You can set small boundaries to make a difference. It is helpful to change from pajamas into work clothes each day, even if you work at home. You can also set up a dedicated workspace to help focus on work. Having a specific work area may help you detach from work and transition to home life once you leave it. You can also switch out of work mode by changing your outfit, taking a drive or walk, or doing an activity with your family.
Work-life integration focuses on taking small breaks throughout the day to attend to your personal life. It is sometimes hard to find a balance between work needs and personal needs in this way. For many people, working at home can feel like you’re always on the job. An important step in achieving good work-life integration is maintaining a routine. You can use boundaries you have developed to help create a routine to get through your daily tasks. Everyone has their own balance between work-life boundaries and work-life integration. It’s a matter of finding one that works best for you.
Creating work-life balance is a continuous process as your family, interests, and work life change. It’s important to take time to assess your mental health and pivot your priorities from time to time. If you think you are struggling with burnout, talk with a medical provider about your symptoms.