Work From Home Burnout: The 6 Month Slump
Burnout is real, even when you work remotely. We’ll show you how to get through a work from home burnout slump with these five easy, effective tips.
Work from home burnout is real, and it happens to the best of us more often than not.
One day you’re loving all the perks and benefits that come with working remotely. Then the next day, you have zero motivation, a total lack of focus, and can’t seem to get anything done.
You may be doubting your ability to work from home and feel tempted to retreat to a traditional in-house job again.
So take a deep breath, and let us help before you get to that point.
We’re sharing five easy, effective tips to combat work from home burnout in this guide. You’ll soon feel more motivated and productive in your remote role and start thriving with your newfound wisdom.
Don’t know if you’ve hit a work from home slump? Let’s identify some of the most common signs you’ve hit one, so you can address the situation head-on and quickly get through it.
What’s the Difference Between a Six-Month Slump and Work From Home Burnout?
The best way to explain the six-month slump that happens as a remote worker is to paint a picture:
When you first begin working remotely, you’re usually excited, eager to get going, and maybe even a little timid or nervous. After all, you’re meeting your coworkers virtually, and it’s challenging to build bonds without physically seeing people every day.
But you eventually find your groove.
You comfortably exchange witty banter in the company Slack channel, you understand the workflow and meet all your deadlines, and you finally feel like you fit in with the team.
Then -- out of nowhere -- you hit a confusing brick wall.
Now, you’re not as excited to sit down and work. You feel exhausted and unmotivated to do the job you once enjoyed a few weeks ago. And you feel even more alone and isolated than ever.
Though this situation tends to happen within your first six months of working remotely, the truth is that it’s likely to happen more than once during your remote career.
Working remotely takes a high level of discipline. And when you’re dealing with short deadlines, difficult tasks, or don’t establish healthy work from home boundaries, you may struggle with managing all your responsibilities on your own.
Do this long enough, and you may run into work from home burnout.
Officially speaking, burnout is the result of chronic work stress. And since remote workers tend to clock in more hours than their in-office counterparts, you’re at a higher risk of succumbing to its energy-draining effects.
Signs You’ve Hit Work From Home Burnout
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms and signs you’ve hit burnout, you could be in a slump or quickly heading for one:
- You dread showing up to work each day or working on the projects you have on your plate.
- You’d rather get your tasks done quickly, and you’re less concerned with how they turn out.
- You find yourself engulfed by distractions like social media, TV, or cleaning and organizing your space to avoid working.
- You can’t stop complaining about work to anyone who listens.
- You feel physically and mentally drained and don’t feel like doing anything at work or outside of it.
- You begin to build resentment that no one appreciates or sees the hard work that you put in.
- You start to wonder if you should switch back to a traditional job to find happiness and recognition again.
- The isolation seems to be growing, yet you don’t feel like getting outside or socializing to make it better.
If you’re experiencing any or a combination of these feelings, you’re not alone.
Again, these burnout symptoms happen to the best of us, and they’re likely to surface more than once in your remote career.
The key is to identify them as early as possible so you can combat them before they snowball into bigger issues.
So let’s talk about how to do that.
5 Quick Ways to Turn Around a Work From Home Slump
If you find yourself experiencing work from home burnout, try these simple yet effective strategies to quickly rebound:
1. Change Up Your Workspace
Even if you set up your dream home office, your brain may get bored of following the same ol’ routine and seeing the same things day in and day out.
You need to find new and stimulating things to get excited about if you want to keep your energy levels, creativity, and motivation high.
An easy fix? Change up where you work.
The beauty of remote work is that you can often clock in from anywhere you want, whenever you want. Remember that flexible schedule you have? Take a day trip to a new park, find a new coffee shop outside your neighborhood, or become a digital nomad and travel the world (we'll be there soon!).
Most of us forget to take advantage of this because we’re so focused on being productive.
So try to work out of your home office at least one or two days per week. You’ll break out of a stuffy routine and give your brain new, fresh scenery to look at and engage with.
If you don’t have the budget to travel, don’t fret.
Even changing where you work in your home -- near a window versus facing a wall -- can help.
Think of what looks inviting and try working from there. You may find that just being outside is enough to reinvigorate you.
2. Practice Gratitude
2. Practice Gratitude
Oftentimes when we’re so far down a slump, we’re blinded by everything that’s wrong and can’t see the positives of the situation. This causes us to get stuck and ruminate on all the negatives, leading us further down the spiral of depression.
So one of the best ways to keep your mental health in check when you work from home is starting a gratitude journal.
You can do this digitally, but getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper gives you a nice break away from the screen.
Grab a blank notebook or pick up a special journal to brain dump everything you’re grateful for in your remote role.
Maybe you enjoy having a flexible schedule, not having to commute, getting to spend more time with your kids, or just being away from catty office gossip.
Take a few minutes every day to jot down these perks, and you’ll likely be surprised by how good things actually are. Check out Day in the Life of a Remote Worker: Marie Prokopets for some inspiration!
3. Take More Breaks -- Especially Those Outside
If you’re finding yourself glued to your computer screen all day, it’s no wonder you’re feeling down. Humans aren’t meant to remain deskbound and work on complex problems for eight hours straight.
Science says you’re actually more productive when you take breaks, especially when you get to walk around or sit outside and de-stress in nature.
So if you’re having trouble scheduling breaks, set a timer to work in 25- to 30-minute sprints and then take a 5- to 10-minute break. This will force your brain to disconnect from your work, so you can re-energize and boost your mood.
This is something that naturally happens at a traditional job, as you visit your coworkers at their desks or meet up at the water cooler, but it’s often lost in the remote world.
4. Get Dressed and Ready for the Day
One of the best tips for starting a new job remotely is to get dressed each day as if you were heading into the office. If this doesn't float your boat, put on an outfit that you couldn't wear to the office in the past but feel comfortable and happy in.
While it may seem pointless to get ready for a job when no one “sees” you, it’s really the complete opposite. Doing so can help you feel confident, put-together, and capable of tackling your hardest tasks, making it a must. This goes double if you’re experiencing a slump.
So spend a few extra minutes getting ready in the morning, and you’ll find yourself feeling more motivated and productive in no time.
5. Rework Your Work from Home Schedule
Another plus when it comes to working remotely is the ability to create your personal work from home schedule.
Rather than working here and there, it helps to stay on a consistent schedule that meets your company’s needs and aligns with the hours you’re most productive and in the zone.
Most people say their energy is highest at the beginning of the week or even in the first half of the day. So this makes the ideal time to tackle your most demanding tasks. Once you do, you’ll build positive momentum and ensure your most challenging to-dos get done before you lose steam.
Then, weave in your easier tasks later in the day or towards the end of the week when your mental energy may be waning.
Moving video chats with coworkers towards the end of the day makes it much more enjoyable to get through, for example. You can also schedule lunch dates or virtual coffee breaks during the end of the week, so that you have something fun to look forward to.
Final Thoughts on Combating Work From Home Burnout
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a work from home slump. It happens to the best of us and it’s likely to happen more than once as a remote worker.
Instead of feeling stuck and letting this situation consume your thoughts, following these practices that ensure you succeed at remote work will help you stay motivated and productive.
At the end of the day, remote work is as enjoyable as you make it. Don’t be afraid to switch things up every so often, and keep reminding yourself of what you love about this style of working.
If you try these tips and don’t feel your work from home burnout disappearing, it might be time to find another remote position. You may be bored by your current role and ready to excel in something more challenging.
So get in the habit of checking the We Work Remotely job board for the next chapter in your remote work life. We post fresh opportunities daily, and one of them may be your dream role!
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