5 Ways to Avoid Burnout

At the risk of sounding like a bad pharmaceutical commercial, are you feeling fatigued, forgetful or anxious? Well, according to Psychology Today, you might be experiencing “burnout.”

As remote workers ourselves, we are intimately familiar with feeling burnt out. Most articles focus on extolling the perks of location independence.

However, having worked remotely for several years, we know that it’s not all laptops on the beach and endless freedom.

It’s hard work and a lot of self-discipline. For us, the self-discipline has been one of the biggest changes going from “traditional” employment to working remotely as freelancers.

But enough about us. Let’s talk about YOU. Below are 5 common challenges faced by people working remotely and solutions to help avoid burnout. Have you ever experienced any of these?

Challenge 1: You don’t exercise enough (or at all).

Solution: Find fun ways to work out.

Think of your health as a currency. By decreasing the days you’re sick, you can actually increase your earning potential. Exercise helps your body avoid injury and combat sickness.

If you are like us, working out sometimes feels like the first thing on the chopping block when we are tired or have a lot of work to do. Something that has completely changed our mindset is finding non-traditional ways to exercise.

If going to a gym or doing a workout video feel arduous and boring, get creative! YouTube has something for everyone. Our new favorite exercise (and shameless excuse to dance our hearts out) is the Fitness Marshall. We dare you not to have fun and laugh out loud trying to do one of his videos.

If you’ve found a creative and fun way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, let us know! We are always looking for new inspiration.

Challenge 2: You feel like you work all of the time.

Solution: Make a schedule, and stick to it.

Stop being busy, and start being present. You will be amazed at how much the quality of your work and personal life will improve simply by focusing only on what you are doing at the moment.

Adhering to a consistent schedule is a great idea for 2 main reasons:

1. Set hours give you parameters in which you can focus on your work and be more productive.
2. Knowing you have non-work hours allows you to fully focus on your other responsibilities when you’re not working.

Working remotely does allow for more flexibility, but not having any routine at all can lead to inadvertently working 16 hour days, which can quickly lead to — you guessed it — burnout.

For example, if you are project based, set hours in which you’re most productive and stick to them. If you are task based, set standard “office hours,” and sign out of all work accounts at the end of your work day so you’re not tempted to keep working.

We are huge proponents of mindfulness and monotasking. When you are working, be hyper-focused on your tasks. When you are not working, allow yourself to fully disconnect.

Challenge 3: You’ve noticed more symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Solution: Be aware of changes and prioritize your mental health.

Our jobs require us to perform at peak mental performance. Doing small things for yourself on a regular basis, like getting some fresh air and going for a walk during your lunch break, can help you be healthier both physically and mentally.

If you’re thinking, “But I don’t have time!” remind yourself that taking 15–30 minutes a day to do something that relaxes and/or invigorates you can help you avoid getting sick or feeling depressed, which means taking off less sick days in the long-run. This could include exercising, reading, meditating or even just dancing around your living room.

Web developer Madalyn Parker announced her own mental health day, and shared her boss’ reaction on Twitter. His response went viral, and it’s easy to see why:

After the huge response Parker’s original tweet received, CEO Congleton wrote a post on Medium to highlight the stigma surrounding mental health and applauded Parker for being so open, stating, “When an athlete is injured they sit on the bench and recover. Let’s get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different.”

*If mindfulness and exercise are not helping enough, seek professional help.

Challenge 4: You’re bleary eyed from too much screen time.

Solution: Schedule short breaks throughout the day.

I recently started using the extension Take A Break. With this tool, I set my working hours, frequency and duration of the breaks, and type of notification.

It’s an easy and free way to remind yourself to step away from your computer to stretch and relax your eyes for a bit. Here are some more take-a-break apps.

Challenge 5: You have no time for hobbies.

Solution: Set time aside strictly for fun and creativity.

Whether it’s learning a new language or signing up for a kickball league, setting aside time to do something fun is crucial to avoiding burnout. It’s nearly impossible to feel happy and fulfilled if your own creative needs are consistently ignored.

Keep in mind that “fun” can include things that will also help your work. For example, I love photography. I decided to learn how to edit photos using Gimp, which is like a free, lighter version of Adobe Photoshop. Not only do feel personally fulfilled and creatively challenged when using the program, but now, I am also able to include editing as a service I offer to clients

Your Turn

Have you battled burnout? What do you do to take care yourself? Let us know on this week’s pinned post on our Facebook page.

If you haven’t already, subscribe at RemoteWorkGuides.com to receive our automated emails full of tips and tools to help you kick your productivity into high gear.