Recovering from Pandemic Burnout

By Mark Samuel

Pandemic fatigue is new, but familiar to all of us. Whether you feel it most from the increased number of work meetings, the long hours of screen time, the increased coordination with work and family, fear of getting sick, or the continued months of limited access to things you’re used to, you’re probably feeling pretty burnt out—and you’re not alone. 

It’s important to use our recovery solutions as an opportunity for meaningful positive change, not just another quick fix solution. This means finding the root of our fatigue and supporting ourselves in meaningful, beneficial ways.

Upgrading Your Self-Care

It must become a regular practice each and every day to do little things for yourself that add up. Here are some ideas:

  1. Schedule breaks into your workday and make sure to stretch and get some movement in between periods of sitting at your desk.
  2. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated rather than depending on coffee and soft drinks. 
  3. Get more sleep. 
  4. Take more walks to get outside and change your scenery while getting some exercise and fresh air at the same time.
  5. Use weekends to catch up on self-care by scheduling personal time for yourself to recharge.

Taking Care of Your Team

As manager or member of a team, it’s important to take care of your team members.  Here are some options for taking care of your team.

  1. Coffee, lunch or tea-time with individual team members to share about anything but work and to learn more about each other. 
  2. Ask other team members how they like to be communicated with and any sensitivities they have around communication, especially on screen. 
  3. Communicate – Communicate – Communicate. This is a time when added updates, asking questions to clarify goals and assignments, and letting people know of any changes is critical. 
  4. Ensuring that emails and meetings are outcome-driven, not just activities to be done. 

Taking Care of Your Home Life

Working from home blurs the separation between work time and home time. This means that family (and pets) are present more of the time for spontaneous interruptions, questions, and needs. It’s critical that we look at our life set-up differently than ever before.

  1. Set boundaries and parameters and do your best to stick to them. It is no longer practical to be available for family any time they want just because you are home or for coworkers just because you are near your computer.
  2. Upgrade your home office environment to ensure you have great chairs that support your back and an atmosphere that allows you to focus while also feeling calm and happy. 
  3. Schedule video calls with family members and close friends to stay connected with the most meaningful people in your life.
  4. Sharing appreciation and love for the people you live with as well as openly and regularly discussing challenges before they fester is very important for maintaining a peaceful and loving home environment. 
  5. Schedule ways to have fun, change up the monotony of being at home, and do things that are different and still respectful of the Pandemic environment. 

Ultimately, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for Pandemic Fatigue. However, if we stay curious, in a learning mode, and experiment with different ideas, we can get through this challenging period with a little more grace and ease.

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