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How to avoid burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic

Burnout is a term that essentially describes overall exhaustion due to an overload of stress. While burnout is one of the biggest occupational issues in the workplace, the COVID-19 pandemic is reminding us that it can happen in any setting. Now more than ever, people are pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion as they juggle working from home, taking care of children, staying healthy, and much more.

With millions of individuals stuck at home in lockdown as the coronavirus spreads, burnout is a very real threat – despite looking slightly different from what we imagine. This Pacific Prime Dubai article talks about how to avoid burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Why workplace burnout is happening at home

Many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and those who are fortunate enough to continue working are doing so from home. Living and working under the same roof comes with its own set of challenges, such as staying healthy and productive. But, unlike regular remote work, the circumstances are different during the pandemic – with children, spouses, and family needs also requiring attention.

The way people go about their daily life has completely changed, as people now try to solve what feels like problem after problem. Until recently, people were not consumed with thoughts about whether they have to disinfect every item after grocery shopping, how to stay active while confined, or if hugging their children is safe.

To top it off, social media seems to do more harm than good by telling people that this period should be one used for a huge transformation or project. All of these things pile up and end up wearing us down in a way that many of us are not equipped to handle.

Decision fatigue may be to blame

Burnout is often associated with 12-hour workdays and endless emails or calls that expect to be answered, despite having already clocked out for the day. Some people even finish their regular day jobs only to go right into their side jobs. However, during a crisis such as this, burnout can occur due to a phenomenon known as “decision fatigue”.

News and information are being presented constantly, with updates on the pandemic, advice on how to live your best quarantine life, school schedules, and so on. To put it simply, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on people to deal with tough decisions under entirely new circumstances.

While everyone makes decisions on a daily basis, they tend to be ones that people are somewhat familiar with. The decisions required during the pandemic, however, can cause psychological stress since there are not only new problems but more problems as well. The scope of decisions an average person currently faces is so broad, ranging from what to eat to how to reduce the risk of infection.

People are learning how to live during this time as they go. Planning the day and prioritizing tasks requires more strength than ever now that everything is happening under the same roof. The combination of decision fatigue and personal pressure to make safe informed decisions can result in burnout. As if that’s not enough reason, many ways of coping with stress, such as exercising at the gym or hanging out with friends, have also been taken away.

How to avoid burnout amid COVID-19

The pandemic has sparked many new fears and concerns, including job losses, health concerns regarding the young and the elderly, and canceled travel plans. What’s more, those who are still working are expected to perform like they would prior to the pandemic. One of the simplest things to do to stop yourself from being overwhelmed to the point of burnout is to remember the bigger picture. Circumstances will change over time and every day in quarantine is a day closer to normalcy.

It’s also important to realize that unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout, whether the expectations come from an employer or oneself. One good thing that may come out of all of this is a potential shift in our outlook and approach. After learning how to deal with new situations, such as working from home, and making adjustments, people will find it easier to cope and be more flexible with changes. By having gone through such challenging circumstances, people will find things to be much easier when it is time to return to a daily routine.

So what can you do if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed in the meantime? Luckily, keeping things simple seems to be the best way to cope. If you have to make a difficult decision that makes you feel anxious or stressed, come up with a pros and cons list. But maybe one of the best ways you can cope during this time is by doing the complete opposite of what causes burnout to begin with: nothing. Realize that adhering to social distancing rules is already a positive contribution and the best thing you can do for now.

Get professional help

If you’re concerned about the state of your mental health, it’s recommended to consult with an expert. However, if wellness programs are not part of your employee benefits package, these consultations can end up being quite expensive. To find out more about wellness benefits and health insurance in Dubai, get in touch with our team at Pacific Prime Dubai for free advice today. You can also visit our website to receive a free quote for international health insurance in Dubai and more.

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