Our homes used to be an escape from the office. When we were burnout, we could find solace as soon as we opened our front doors. Since 2020, work-life balance has been non-existent as we struggle to define boundaries that continue to blur.
Working from home, for some may have once been a fantasy. Wearing sweatpants to the “office” while kids were at school. Saving gas and miles on your car and having dinner ready at a reasonable hour. However, that room we thought we had to breathe has become filled with remote-schooling our children, dishes to do, or a workout to get in because it’s not really safe to breathe at the gym.
What happened to that work-from-home fantasy? The one where we have more time, more control, and achieve all the things?
While some of us have too much time and have learned to make 10 different kinds of bread, others have longed for bread making and wonder why they haven’t gotten to it.
Time can feel free initially, but over time (pardon the pun) having too much or not enough can become depressing. That’s because we all need some sort of purpose and our purpose is getting lost in what we are “supposed” to be doing vs. the reality of the lack of control over our days.
Especially if you have kids, you may feel like this trying to work while you’re kids are remote learning and home all the time…
With the work/home lines blurred it doesn’t matter if you’ve learned how to knit or are surviving one day at a time…if you still feel like crap, it’s probably because you are burnt out and not sure what to do about it.
Your job doesn’t define you. Even if you are a stay-at-home parent or a CEO. You are not your job. You are a human, who can only do so much.
Try these ideas to create boundaries and find a sense of direction that leads back to you…
- Decompress: Before work, after work or in-between work take a moment to take 10 deep breaths. This is a reminder to reconnect your mind-body and let go of the stressors.
- Walk: Going out in nature does wonders. Even if you have to bring your baby with you, get outside and take a walk for 10 minutes. Allow your mind to wander, breathe and feel the warmth of the sun.
- Use your Brain: When you use your brain all day or have eyes on Zoom all-day it can contribute to burnout. After work, try doing something to “unwind” your brain like building a puzzle, a word search, reading a book, crocheting a blanket. Something you can look forward to at the end of the day that requires what I’ll call “mindless concentration.”
- Food is Medicine: Be mindful of what you put into your body. Too much sugar and/coffee, for example, can trigger anxiety. You may find a large change in your mood if you switch to healthier options like tea and greek yogurt and drinking a lot more water than usual.
- Write down Goals: Nothing is more powerful than the power of the word. Write down a goal you have…maybe it’s to take a relaxing bath or YouTube yoga class. Maybe it’s just to sit still and breathe. Writing it down can make it real, or really important.
- Ask for Help: If burnout becomes too much and the above tips aren’t working, it may be time to talk to someone. This could be friends, a life coach, a therapist…someone who can help you overcome burnout and achieve well-being.
When life feels out of control it’s up to us to make sense of it in our heads and provide a structure we can understand. Try your best to establish a routine in your day. Even if you are putting on your schedule:
- 9-12 pm: Stressful work stuff
- 12-1 pm: Lunch and deep breathing
- 1-5 pm: Stressful work meetings
- 5 pm: Look in the mirror, say “I am awesome!” and smile at yourself. You got through most of today!
- 5:30 pm: Dinner and walk
- 7 pm: Check work emails from the boss and respond. Then, put on do not disturb for rest of the night
Give yourself control wherever you can. Set boundaries, focus on your self-care, and remember you are human.
There is always hope and there is always the opportunity to do things differently. Try to find the small moments where you can, put boundaries in a place where you need them, and keep trying until you find yourself in a place where your burnout lessens and you feel better.
You got this!