PORTLAND, Maine — When thousands of workers across the country suddenly found themselves working from home, that work day almost turned to survival mode. A year and a half later, and many are still working from home.
That's tricky in many ways, but especially when it comes to setting clear boundaries between work life and home life. The more those boundaries get blurred, says Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, the more physical and emotional impacts there are in our personal lives.
Dr. Dalton-Smith is an internal medicine physician and bestselling author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity.
"Career fatigue is a precursor to burnout," says Dalton-Smith. "It is characterized by a growing indifference about the work you do, a drop in productivity, and an increase in work-related stress. When working from home, the boundary lines between your personal and professional life can get blurry leading to more exhaustion."
While that fatigue can happen in any worker, whether they're working at home or in an office, it's the disappearing boundary lines that seem to make the most difference, so resetting those boundaries is so important for both work and home.
"Career fatigue can progress to both physical, emotional and relational problems such as insomnia, substance abuse, heart disease, depression, and divorce," says Dalton-Smith.
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith offers three ways to work on ending that career fatigue, without simply looking for a new job:
1) Explore some inner questions. Ending career fatigue begins with identifying if you are at risk. Some questions to consider include:
Do you find it difficult to concentrate?
Have you noticed a decrease in your productivity and/or creativity?
Are you easily irritated by clients and/or co-workers?
Do you find yourself questioning if your work is beneficial?
Have you become overly critical about your company or its leadership?
2) Work-life boundaries are crucial. Establish healthy work-life integration boundaries for your home office space, including the use of time-blocking and visual cues to maintain your boundary lines.
3) Taking a break is important. Incorporate restorative activities in the middle of your busy day to prevent career fatigue from progressing to burnout. A few simple techniques you can easily add to your day include flow-break cycles and being intentional about getting more social and creative rest.
Do you find you are not getting enough social or creative rest? You can learn more about all of the aspects of life and work in which you need rest, by taking the Rest Quiz.