Burnout happens when a person undergoes a period of chronic stress and reaches their emotional, mental, and physical limits. In the midst of a worldwide health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout looks different but remains a massive problem. Here are some ways to avoid burning out during the pandemic.
- Reduce the number of decisions you make daily.
Decision fatigue is a phenomenon that occurs when a person is forced to make too many decisions throughout the day. With each decision a person makes, they exert a small amount of mental energy from a finite reserve. Once your mental energy is depleted, you will find yourself exhausted, irritable, overwhelmed — and potentially burnt out.
The pandemic has presented many of us with more daily decisions than we’ve ever had before. The simple act of leaving the house has become more complicated and involves weighing risks and consider safety precautions. To avoid decision fatigue, try reducing the number of daily decisions you need to make. Create a routine to make decisions easier. Also, be cautious about making big decisions after a day of making several smaller ones.
- Find ways to relieve stress.
Everyone needs ways to relieve stress. During the pandemic, many people have been cut off from their usual coping mechanisms, such as going to the gym or attending social events. If this is the case for you, try to find new ways to relieve the stress of your day. Maybe you can take up home workouts or attend some virtual social events. It may require some trial and error, but find what works for you and then make it a priority in your schedule.
- Release your expectations about your productivity.
As if dealing with a worldwide health crisis weren’t enough, many of us are also battling expectations about how productive we should be during quarantine. You may see friends on social media tackling home improvement projects or finishing college courses, and wonder why you can’t muster the energy to turn off the television.
Instead of judging yourself harshly, release your expectations. Everyone deals with stress in their own way, and there’s no need to compare yourself to others. If all you can do right now is get through each day, then let that be enough. Unnecessary expectations will only add to your stress and move you closer to burnout.
Burnout is a real risk during the pandemic, but that does mean it is inevitable. Follow these steps and try to remember that this situation will not last forever. Do the best you can with what you have now, and try to let everything else go.