Have you heard? There’s a new condition sweeping the nation and it sounds ghastly. Symptoms include sleep deprivation, nausea, fatigue and the uncontrollable urge to scream into a pillow. No, it’s not another new foreign strain of Covid-19, it’s pandemic burnout, and it’s infecting more people than you think.
For nearly one whole year now we’ve been forced to live our lives in a way we probably didn’t plan to. Stuck inside our homes, overseeing disobedient school children, taking conference calls in our pjs and conducting lack-lustre social lives on gallery mode. It’s no small thing to be all things at all times to all people and also feel like you’re doing nothing much at all. As a result, many are feeling the strain of the responsibilities of a prolonged lockdown, thus risking a nation-wide burnout.
But alas, all is not lost for here at Pistachio we have 5 handy tips to make sure you keep that burn out simmering gently out of sight…for now.
Adjust expectations – you’re not a teacher the same as your children’s teachers aren’t marketers, sales reps, designers, lawyers or beauticians. Therefore, don’t beat yourself up when you’re struggling to do it all at gold-star standard, because you’re not supposed to. Instead remember that you’ve made it this far and you’re definitely made of stronger stuff. So what if there’s cocoa pops trodden into the carpet and cat poo on your keyboard and it’s only 9.15am? things will get better, kids will return to human form and office-made coffees will be back. Have faith.
Set boundaries – just because you’re home all the time doesn’t mean people can demand more of that time. Whether that’s via zoom happy hours (please, are these still happening because why?) extra work demands or overzealous PTA’s trying to extract the last shred of downtime you have left, learn when to say no. And I mean NO. Free time is still free time. Just because people know that you’re not allowed out and about does not mean you are obliged to engage with everyone, or spend every waking moment being productive or socialising. It’s your life and your time, spend it wisely.
Add structure – whether it’s a morning walk, jog or a Joe Wicks around the living room to get your limbs moving. Even a scheduled time to cry in the confines of the power shower. Add it into your daily routine, tick it off and move on. Once you do, you’ll soon feel more in control of things and better equipped to face a seemingly never-ending stretch in lockdown.
Practise self-care – wine Wednesdays? sleepy Sunday? freaky Friday? (absolutely zero judgement here). Whatever you need to do to unwind and feel a little less pandemic-y make sure you prioritise it when you need it most. It can feel strange scheduling in some ‘me time’ when you’re sitting in a house, metres away from your office, virtual bar or washing machine, but that doesn’t mean you’re not already exhausted from the chore of just well, being alive. Therefore, take the time to sit back, switch off and ignore all the things you think you’re supposed to be doing – even if it’s just for one night.
Speak up – don’t suffer in silence. Why? because misery really does love company. So, be sure to share and share alike, a problem solved is nearly always a problem halved and not one of your friends or family would want you to feel like you have to keep up appearances when you’ve really just had enough. Plus, even if no one can help, at least you might find someone who has it worse off than you to make you feel a little better. It’s all about perspective really.
In all seriousness, pandemic burn out is a real thing that is fast becoming an issue for a nation adapting to one of life’s darkest moments. Therefore, take the time to assess what’s important and what isn’t and try not to get overwhelmed by the still rocky road ahead. We really are all in this together and we’ll never ever leave a comrade behind. So, chin up, toss the gin back and let’s go and smash the rest of the week – whether that’s watching a box set on the sofa, running a marathon round the park or simply just showing up for work with a virtual smile, you’ve got this 😉
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