Virtual Work: Preventing Burnout For Yourself: Part I

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Burnout is defined as a “state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress” (helpguide.com). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have shifted to working remotely for the last six months and may continue to do so well into 2021. Whether you are new to virtual work or not, “Zoom fatigue” is real. “World affairs fatigue,” if we can coin the phrase, has become real for many as constant pivots and juggling of our work responsibilities, health, families, and communities are adapting to a newfound normal.

Are you aware of how a burnout manifests itself for you? Is it a lack of energy and focus? Headache or stress eating? Forgetting to drink water? Maybe even a constant thought of “Am I dropping the ball on something?” We all experience burnout in different ways but there is one thing in common- it interrupts our commitment to good health and delivering great work products. Here are some ways you can prevent burnout.

The first step to preventing burnout for yourself is to choose to not be at the effect of life. When things are not going our way, a lot of us tend to view it as “bad things happened to me.” Instead, try on the idea that the events are not inherently “good” or “bad.” How YOU view them determines whether they are “good” or “bad.” Being willing to view life from this perspective leaves you with power. You are never a victim.

If you choose to not be at the effect of life, you are likely to feel more in control of creating a work-life balance that works for you. Concrete actions you could take are:

  • Creating an inspiring affirmation and committing to the purpose of your work at the beginning of each work day. For example, “Today wasn’t promised to me but I promise it will be a great one.”
  • Creating a practice to delineate the end of the work day. For example, emptying your trash can, changing into a different outfit, calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, etc.
  • Making an end-of-day 15-minute daily calendar occasion to review your day and arrange and/or decline meetings for the rest of the week that are not absolutely needed. Reclaim your time.

Also, feel free to read on the four ways of being that create the foundation for great leadership, a great organization, and a great personal life in Insigniam Quarterly.

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