Dr. Michelle

Dr. Michelle

Best Tip for Avoiding Burnout During the Covid-19 Crisis

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Can we even begin to get used to the new norm of self-isolation shuttered businesses? While there’s talk of gradual re-openings in some areas, we still could be more than a year away from life returning to normal. As quarantine fatigue becomes something that many of us are struggling with, we all need to be checking in with ourselves and others to deal with this situation in a healthy way.

Many people report feeling tired and worn out. This is due to a number of reasons:

We are experiencing so much change and instability

The brain is very costly to our body in terms of energy. Think of your brain as a highly expensive to operate the electric device in your home. Our brain takes about 20% of our overall energy just to get by. That means 20% of our energy is spent just to repeat what is known and familiar and repeating routines. Times of rapid changes, both at work and at home are very costly to our brain in terms of energy, and leave us feeling drained and worn out.

Many people feel very anxious

The main reason has to do with the crash you feel after your adrenaline runs out. The official name for this phenomenon is adrenal fatigue. Anxiety is like being on high alert. Your body is preparing you to fight or flee, and so the body is flooded with energy in order to respond to a threat. Then, when that adrenaline runs its course, your body goes through a crash that can leave you feeling drained. Anxiety causes profound muscle tension all throughout the day, and often this causes a similar “drained” feeling in which your body feels tired. .Some of that tiredness is entirely mental, simply because your brain – like a muscle – can also run out of strength. Anxiety is linked to ongoing, stressful thoughts and an overactive brain. Anxiety taxes our cognitive capacities, leading to a drain on our ability to think and react. It also increases our emotional load (due to the distressing thoughts), which means we are both emotionally and mentally drained. So it should come as no surprise that all those thoughts make your body tired to the point where it wants you to rest.

Becoming tired is sometimes a coping mechanism that your body uses to prevent you from experiencing severe stress. Tiredness motivates you to take a break and rest, rather than exposing yourself to even more anxiety, which could become even more overwhelming.

The extra demands of working from home, managing careers, and children’s education and care are exhausting for many people.

Even pre-pandemic, burnout has always taken a toll on employees, with one-third admitting their job has a negative impact on their mental health.

Since COVID-19 sent workers to work from home, US workers have been on their computers/laptops for an additional three hours a day, a 40% rise compared to patterns seen before March 11, based on Monster’s latest “State of the Candidate” survey conducted on May 5, 2020, with 1251 US respondents. Based on the survey, half of employees telecommuting due to the coronavirus are experiencing burnout, yet 52% don’t have plans to take a break.

And a result of overwork is a decrease in productivity, according to Monster, which said its poll revealed that 62% of employees feel their personal productivity has dropped because of WFH.

There are many things you can do to avoid burnout. You can reach out to your friends and family. You can work out. You can spend time outdoors. You can find gratitude for what you have. You can keep yourself on a schedule.

At the end of the day it comes down to this: are you managing the situation, or are you being managed by it? I know that there is a lot on your plate. I know that you are scared and I know that you have had it. So do I. But you can make a conscious choice today to get up every morning and manage the situation. Manage the day, manage the chores, manage your tasks as you work from home, manage the content that goes into your mind. You can CHOOSE to listen to inspiring content instead of the news. You can CHOOSE to get yourself focused and organized. You can CHOOSE to eat healthily, hydrate well, and work out.

The challenge is there. It is not going anywhere for a while. Let’s stand up for the challenge. Let’s manage it instead of being managed by it. Let’s forgive ourselves quickly and focus on what matters the most. Let’s feel proud every day about the choices that we make. Let’s win this thing.