Dealing with stress, burnout, and strain in an age of remote working
There’s no worse feeling than burnout induced by the strains of life. Foggy fatigue, irritation, and loss of motivation are only a few problematic symptoms that come along with feeling like a used match. But how could this be, you wonder? You’re working remotely! From the comfort of a less stressful office space! Shouldn’t you feel okay all the time?
No, not even close. Work is work, as they say. And remote work, especially if it sits in the realm of IT, will always remain stressful and time-consuming. There are simply reduced stress factors involved. And, for what it’s worth, remote work is a totally different environment with its own hurdles and challenges. It’s why we’ve gone into detail about good habits when working remotely in general.
But even with good strategy, work fatigue absolutely sets in. Given we’re responsible for work tasks on our own, it’s important to be in good mental shape. So hey, let’s break down a few ways to power through remote work fatigue and burnout.
Why does burnout happen?
Burnout is generally the result of tedium, stress, work, and a host of other factors. The thing is, you’ve likely experienced burnout outside of work too. It can push into our personal lives, habits, hobbies, and passions. Do you write, draw, create music, build, garden? Even as hobbies, you can burn out on any of those.
But obviously, it spills into work. Monotony, repetition, and the general workload can leave one feeling unfulfilled, tired, and unmotivated. Sure you get the job done, but when you’re finished, you dread doing it all over, and you just feel more tired. That fatigue bleeds into everything else and you find yourself doing nothing in your free time.
Countering burnout at work and home
Burnout is often resolved with taking some time off, but, the luxury of doing so isn’t always available, unfortunately. Time off, too, doesn’t only mean “not working on the job.” It translates to a total separation of stress factors and mentally separating yourself from the cause of burnout for an extended period.
The problem with burnout, though, is it gets exacerbated with remote working. That’s because your home and job environment have blended together, at least by proximity. And when it blends together, you’re not getting the correct recovery time.
How do I know if I’m burned out?
Sounds like a medical query, doesn’t it? As it should, burnout impacts our health. And while you don’t necessarily have to rush out and see a doctor, it’s worth taking care of yourself with a mental once over.
While Bytagig doesn’t profess any sort of doctoral advice (and if you’re feeling bad, schedule an appointment if you have concerns), we do believe in good mental/physical health. So, run these questions over with yourself:
- Do you feel tired most of the time, even after sleep?
- Is your sleep unsatisfying?
- Do you have trouble starting any kind of task, work related or otherwise?
- Are you feeling more agitated in general? Do you get irritated at small things you would normally?
If you answered yes, you’re likely feeling some of that unwanted burnout.
What are other reasons for burning out?
Stress, obviously, is a factor. But stress is a way our body responds to tough situations and isn’t always a bad thing. It allows us to address challenges and sort through them accordingly.
But burnout also occurs from a pile-up of stress from multiple sources, such as:
- Overly demanding or confusing work expectations
- Social life issues and problems
- Imbalance of work, leisure, and personal life
Those are to name a few.
The methods and manners to address burnout vary from person to person. Every situation and individual is unique. But even with those unique situations, keep some key things in mind.
- Strive to get better rest and a full night’s sleep as often as possible (even if it’s difficult)
- Manage your diet and take in less caffeine, sugar, salt, and unhealthy foods
- Routinely exercise or get some of level of physical activity
At the core, those are fundamentals to any “getting healthier” strategy. Part of having a mental break from burnout isn’t just indulgence, it’s trying to address other health problems we might have. The thing is, burnout and stress don’t make for a friendly company, and can lead to long-term health conditions. It’s important to tackle it head-on while taking advantage of remote working.
For better scheduling and workloads, you should absolutely bring these concerns up with management. It’s a long shot, we know because not all companies are “benign” when it comes to worker health. Still, if you don’t make your concerns known, nothing will get better at all.
But beyond that, you want to examine the things you can control. Work will always be stressful, especially remote kinds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of your environment. Take small breaks, drink water, and find a moment to mentally “step away” from the factors causing you stress. Burnout comes from feeling overwhelmed.
Another thing to remember, you’re not alone. We’ve talked about that before when dealing with a cyber attack. But like with personal turmoil, believe us, everyone goes through it. Reach out to friends, family, and even online support groups, because sometimes talking to someone about your problems is just what you need. Granted it’s not the solution (less stress would be great, right?), but it helps. We all get burned out, tired, and fatigued. Never feel bad about it, and know that everyone goes through it too.