How to Work Through a Pandemic Burn Out

  • Chantal McCulligh

If you feel like you’ve been on this never-ending hamster wheel of good and bad news, you’re not alone. The pandemic has caused a new level of mental exhaustion and burnout, from everything. Work feels like more of a slog than it ever did before, you may just be starting to see your friends now, but are feeling too overwhelmed to leave the house and you may even be struggling in your relationship because you feel more irritable, detached even, and if the two of you have been cooped up together for the last year, you’re probably both in the midst of pandemic burnout. You’re not alone. Read on to learn how you can manage your pandemic burnout. Don't worry; you can keep that tactical wallet tucked away because these tips are free!

Pandemic Burnout 101

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Journal About What’s Making You Feel Burnt Out

Burnout can be so overwhelming, it’s hard to know where to look first to start the road back to happiness and productivity. Carve a few minutes out of your day, sit down and start jotting down all of the things that are currently making you feel overwhelmed or unhappy. Even if it’s bulleted points, seeing them in black and white can help you visualize how you’re going to start tackling them.


Step Out of Your ‘Bubble’ and Make Social Plans

The pandemic has stolen so many things from our busy social lives, spontaneity being one of them. It’s been near impossible to plan last-minute get-togethers, catch a last-minute movie, anything of the sort. We’ve been doing our best to connect digitally, but we all know that texting isn’t the same as laughing, confiding or conversing with our friends and loved ones in person. We’re nearing the end of this pandemic, but until then, being more proactive in making social time is something you’re going to thank yourself for in the end. It’s time to plug back in to your friends. They miss you.


Take a Nice Long Social Media ‘Stay-Away-Cation’

Social media has probably been a way for you to stay connected. It’s also been a source of news and entertainment. But, it’s also one of the number one sources of anxiety and depression, especially for those who are experiencing burn-out. Put the phone...DOWN. Wait, wait, not yet, finish this article first, and THEN put it down. If it’s not possible to go on a social media fast, consider carving out some time-blocks throughout the day to give yourself a break. Take it further and block out an entire weekend, even if it’s only once a month.


It’s Not About Balance, it’s About Seeking Happiness

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘the key to life is a work/life balance’? That doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes it’s not about balance, but it’s really about finding happiness and joy in as many aspects of your life as possible. If your work life is flat-lining, it’s time to shake things up. Encourage some team-building exercises, go for a promotion, or line the folds of that tactical wallet with an injection of funds by up-skilling in your field for higher salary gains. In your social life, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, disconnected or weary, it’s time to dial back in. Now that gatherings are permitted in much of the world, it’s time to step away from behind the screen and get in some proper human-to-human face time.


Get a (New) Hobby

Burning out doesn’t always mean you’re reaching your breaking point, sometimes it just means you’re super bored. Boredom is not something to be taken lightly, it can eat away at the best parts of ourselves. If you’re bored with life, it’s likely time to start exploring new things. Just because you’ve been an excellent tennis player your whole life doesn’t mean you’re obligated to only play tennis. Challenge yourself. Try a new sport (when life returns to normal). Find a new interest or set of interests. Become a subject matter expert in a topic or cause you’ve always been interested in, but never gave the time of day. Don’t sit in stasis with your boredom, you have far more control of your life than you think, do something about it.


If you can feel yourself careening towards burnout, now is the time to throw on the brakes and take stock of what you think is contributing to you feeling so exasperated. Pandemic aside, there are specific aspects of your life that you have control over, and if you’re willing to dig deep, you have the power to change the narrative and avoid burning out.


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