Practical Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Remote Worker

While the idea of working from home (or on the go) is exciting, it has the potential to come with some very serious downsides. One of those is the potential to over-work yourself and, ultimately, end up suffering from something called “burnout.” Most new remote workers think the very idea sounds crazy. Didn’t you start working from home so you can make your own schedule?

How can remote workers avoid overworking themselves, and what is burnout? How do you know if you’re suffering from burnout, or are in danger of doing so? Here we have all the answers you need.

What is burnout?

Burnout is, at its very core, a form of extreme mental fatigue, which can most definitely feel very physical in nature. People who work remotely are more at risk for suffering from burnout because they make their own schedules, but it can happen to any member of the workforce.

The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as “a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”

How can you spot burnout?

Too much work is never a good thing | Submitted by Emily Sellers & Wheeler Juell

One of the easiest ways to avoid burnout is to know how to spot it. The symptoms can often mimic the signs of depression or anxiety. Typically the first sign is that your productivity levels begin to decrease, and you no longer feel the joy you once felt being a remote worker. People may be “down on themselves” or very negative when it comes to their job. This can eventually spill over into other aspects of a person’s life, causing difficulties not only with work, but also personal lives across the board. 

It’s important to note that physical symptoms are sometimes present, and that they may be the only obvious symptom in a small group of people. Physical symptoms are often related to headaches, digestion issues, sleep issues (too much or insomnia), aches, or just a generally feeling of being unwell.

The good news is that spotting the symptoms before they get out of hand is far from the only thing you can do to avoid burnout. Here we discuss a few practical tips that remote workers can utilize to avoid burnout.

Take a vacation

Most people who work in an office get to take a vacation at some point during the year. For the lucky ones, this vacation might be a week or even two. For others, it is no more than an extended weekend. Still, taking a vacation (or even a “staycation”) can do wonders. It helps by resetting your mind and body, so you can get back to work refreshed and ready to tackle anything. Avoid the urge to work during your vacation, because even remote workers need time off. 

Even a long weekend can go a long way | Submitted by Tammie Figlinski

Remember your lunch hour

Remote workers should try to remember to take at least half an hour to an hour for lunch each day, without working. This offers your mind (and back) a short break before completing the day’s work.

Just say “no”

It can be difficult to say “no” when a client or your boss wants you to take on a new project. If you really don’t have the time to do so without draining yourself, however, then learn to tell people you simply cannot do it.

Avoid skipping sleep for work

Everyone gets behind on their workload sometimes. While it’s tempting to try pulling an all-nighter, or waking up extra early, skipping sleep will actually just make you less productive … and a lot more cranky. 

Pull out a notebook and make a list of reasons you love your job. | Submitted by Julia Mullaney

Make a list of reasons you love your job

If you’re feeling like your work goes unappreciated, or you just aren’t feeling your position any longer, make a list of reasons you love your job. Read them over when you feel overwhelmed to remind yourself why you began working remotely in the first place. 

Take care of yourself

Good health is vital – not only for avoiding burnout, but for your overall well-being. Remember to drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, and exercise.

Share your remote work tips with us by filling out this 10-minute survey to get featured in our Rolling Remote series!