Throughout lockdown, there’s no doubt that we’ve all experienced a rollercoaster of emotions that we aren’t used to in a short period of time. While most people started lockdown experiencing the ‘lockdown honeymoon phase’ which consisted of baking banana bread, virtual quizzes, zoom call and the novelty of working from home, the feelings of excitement have gradually fizzled out and been replaced with feelings of loneliness, cabin fever, stress and anxiety.
Many people have found themselves feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained in this sudden and unknown situation that we’ve been thrown into whilst desperately trying to adapt to the lack of structure and trying to meet the new constant demands of quarantine life. On top of that, there’s also the feelings of worry for the uncertainty of the future, fretting about family and friends, and being restricted to spending more time indoors than normal.
Now, as we’re slowly coming out of lockdown and attempting to ease ourselves back to a new normal, many people are experiencing feelings of guilt at the idea of socialising again with the added confusion of restrictions and adhering to constantly changing government advice. It’s no surprise that many people are feeling emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted by the new excessive and prolonged stresses of life.
While stress is usually unavoidable, burnout isn’t and it’s important to be able to recognise the early indicators and warning signs which can consist of depleted energy levels, loss of sleep, lack of concentration and feeling tearful and irritable. When left untreated, burnout can cause people to become depressed, anxious, and distracted, which can impact both your work and personal life.
We’ve put together our top tips to help you avoid and overcome lockdown burnout and regain your inner balance:
1. Create a routine
We’re still adapting to a new normal of juggling work, home schooling, entertaining bored children and caring for sick family members. Try to prioritise your tasks before you start your day and make a list of everything you need to do to understand how achievable your list is and lesson your mental load for the day.
2. Don’t overwork
Set structure to your day by designating set working hours and stick to them. It’s tempting to eat at your desk and work through your lunch break or just finish those last bits on the couch in the evening it’s important to set boundaries between work and home life and allow yourself the time to unwind in other parts of your home.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
Stress and anxiety can affect your ability to reach a level of deep sleep which will result in lack of energy the next day. Try to create a relaxing bedtime ritual and avoid technology at least an hour before you go to sleep. See our top tips for how to get a good nights sleep here.
Whether it’s a walk, cycle, yoga or HIIT class, take some time out of your day to get active. Exercise is great for our physical and emotional health as it not only relieves stress but release endorphins.
5. Practice self-care
No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking regular breaks for yourself. Set an alarm as a reminder to make sure that you’re taking some time out to de-stress and do the things that you enjoy and don't be afraid to say no to friends, family or colleagues when you need to. See our top self-care tips here.
6. Eat a balanced diet
When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it might be more convenient to reach for the fast food, coffee and sugary snacks but too much of this can lead to weight gain, energy highs to lows and other health problems. Try to limit caffeine to just 1 cup a day and ensure you’re incorporating your 5 portions of fruit and veg into your snacks and meals.
7. Be compassionate
Acknowledge that this is a difficult situation for many people and be kind to yourself and others. Everybody reacts differently to situations and it’s easy to get yourself drawn into a negative spiral once the early signs of burnout hit. Stay connected to people and communicate about how you’re feeling as it’s likely that you’re not alone.