When the Going Gets Tough, Talk About It

Many of us were ecstatic when the work-from-home era began. When our company’s results actually improved from committing to remote, it felt like a 100% win. Cue the Step Brothers reference – so much time for activities! 🤣

👍 We said hello to:

  • More time at home
  • Happier pets
  • More time with family
  • Staying on top of laundry (sometimes)
  • Having a hot meal for lunch (bye-bye boxed lunch days)

👎 And we said goodbye to:

  • Stuffy offices and 90% of workplace drama
  • People reheating last night's fish dinner in the microwave
  • Personal boundaries between work and home

Most of us didn’t consider that when we wind down work for the day, it doesn’t stay in the office. For many, what started as chipper mornings with your laptop and a cup of joe, has turned into Groundhog Day and increasing cases of burnout.

Burnout can be described as exhaustion or a lack of ability to cope with stressors. An early 2022 survey showed that burnout has increased by 9% since the pandemic began. Burnout isn’t only about your job; it’s about your personal life, maintaining personal relationships, and keeping your brain strong.

We asked people in the DTC community how they deal with the feelings and idea of mental fatigue on the tail end of the pandemic. We want to share their tips and tricks with you on how to avoid the concept of burnout.

Let’s dive in: 👇

1️⃣ Take micro-breaks

A big component of burnout is not knowing when to stop. It’s too easy to sit in front of the screen all day – mandatory screen breaks are more important than ever!

Bryan Robinson, a writer focused on helping workers through stressful moments and situations, stated in a recent Forbes article, “Taking micro-breaks—five or ten minutes—throughout the workday helps you unwind and reset your energy level. After hours of sitting, short breaks are effective energy management strategies.”

💬 “I do my best to take even a few minutes away from screens every hour or two. This could be something as small as grabbing a snack or walking to the mailbox. Your brain is constantly working in the background even when you’re not focused on a specific task, so I return refreshed with new ideas.” Rebecca Knight , content manager at DTC Newsletter and Podcast

⏰ When in doubt, try the 20-20-20 rule!

For every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

2️⃣ Establish a routine

Doing things without a plan of action can have you running around like a headless chicken. 🐥

Always waking up late, missing the chance to cook breakfast, or get the kids ready for school? Set a routine and stick to it.

Thrive Global, a behavioral change company founded by Ariana Huffington, states, “It may seem paradoxical at first, but doing the same thing repeatedly each day can actually help you avoid burnout (as long as it’s the right thing),” – and we couldn’t agree more!

💬 “My morning routine is the grounding force in my life to avoid burnout or fatigue. Every morning, I meditate, get 45 mins of walking time in the sunshine, and practice a stretching routine to set myself up for success for the remainder of my day. This routine helps me maintain a degree of stability in a world full of chaos.” Benjamin Smith , founder at Disco

3️⃣ Seek a change of scenery

It’s too easy to go go go, but sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is close the dang computer and walk away! Yoga, Tai Chi, and exercise classes aren’t for everyone – find the outside activity that works for you!

A change of scenery (especially if it has a nice view) is always a bonus! 🏕

💬 “When you sit at home or in an office all day, you are surrounded and confined by the architect's straight lines. When you’re in nature, you’re surrounded by fractal patterns of growth, which I find really refreshing.

My favorite is to combine the fractals of nature with something called the parallax motion effect, which is the psychological benefit of having natural landscapes whiz by you on a bike or foot (or even roller-blades) – Something about this just helps me calm and order my mind.” Eric Dyck , cofounder at DTC Newsletter and Podcast

4️⃣ Sloooooow down and prioritize

With so much to do in a day, it can feel like nothing gets checked off the list. Nora, CEO of Hintsa, suggests slowing down one activity per day.

Specifically, the article suggests you try:

  • Slowing down your lunch and eating in peace.
  • Taking a walk in a green space (with no phone).
  • Reading a book for 15 minutes every night.

💬 “Overstimulation is a real problem, and focusing on one’s self is actually the higher ROI than simply complaining and not putting out your best work.

This is a perfect time to make a change and prioritize whatever balance brings your best work out for the world, because burnout is not just an indicator of working too much, but also of boredom, loss of vision, and cognitive dissonance.

Allow yourself the mental space to get better! Fill your cup first!” Josh Elizetxe, CEO and founder at Snow

5️⃣ Have open conversations and offer support

If you’re a people manager, be open to conversations about mental heath. Offer employees alternate arrangements, time to decompress, or even just a friendly face and words of encouragement. 😌

💬 “To help staff manage being stuck at home, we’ve chosen to continue renewing our office space through the pandemic. It’s stocked with food, entertainment, and positive vibes to give employees a place to get away from the stressors of their 8x8 home office.

We’ve also implemented half-day Friday’s for the summer. We want to ensure that heading into Q4, employees feel well rested and appreciated. Not to mention, we let our team members work from anywhere in the world and pick their own hours.” – Kyle Hitchcox, Chief Revenue Officer at Pilothouse

6️⃣ Know your limits and reflect

Saying yes to every task can make you feel like you are on top of the world – peak focus. 👀 But when you’re swamped three days later, it doesn’t feel so good anymore…

You should be consistently checking in with yourself. The check-ins should include: 👇

  • Your stress levels.
  • How you’re feeling.
  • Are you mentally distancing yourself from tasks?
  • Are you feeling negative about what's to come?

💬 “ I pause, reflect, and recalibrate. Typically, I tend to burn out when I consistently take on more than I can handle. This doesn't always happen by choice. Often, it happens subtly, building up over time.

The first step is being aware of your own signs of burnout. For me, it's a feeling of being overwhelmed and a general lack of patience. I get irritated and stressed more easily. When I feel those feelings coming up consistently, I know it's time to pause and reflect.

I list all the things going on in my life, personally and professionally. I make a list of all the things I'm worried about. And then I assess – which activities are adding value to my life? Which ones can I reverse pilot? What are the things I'm worried about that I don't have any control over? This exercise helps me recalibrate and refocus on the things that matter and the things that I can control.” Srdjan Popovic , CMO at Crossrope

7️⃣ Find what helps you unwind

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, sometimes the best thing to do is:

  • Throw on the old sweatpants and paint-stained t-shirts. ✅
  • Flip on the ol’ faithful – Netflix, YouTube, the same rerun of a TV show, or *insert your vice here*. ✅

Establishing a routine of relaxation is an important part of a balanced life. Find the things you look forward to helping you unwind.

💬 “Sleep hygiene is definitely my best burnout hack to date. Dream Light helps :) but also no screens after 8 pm and batthhhsssssss.” Jen Batchelor , cofounder and CEO at Kin Euphorics

💬 “I’ve always been a sports guy. Whether it’s the pickup ball hockey, I’ve played for a decade with the same people, or the cricket team I’ve played on for the same duration, having at least one night a week where you go out and chase a ball with friends (and bullshit with them afterward) has been enormously helpful to me in terms of combating burnout.” Eric Dyck , cofounder at DTC Newsletter and Podcast

8️⃣ Connect with those around you

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is connecting with peers, friends, and family. Sharing your frustrations can be just as rewarding as sharing your wins!

💬 “When I am super overwhelmed and unable to focus, I always text or call a friend. For me, it’s not always about finding a solution – sometimes we all just need a good rant.” Rebecca Knight , content manager at DTC Newsletter and Podcast

Don’t be afraid to talk to the people you work with! Be transparent about how you’re feeling.

💬 “It’s important to acknowledge that not everyone is in the same place in terms of their mental health. As a people manager, I do my best to offer support and conversations that help manage stressors and lift up those around me.” – Kyle Hitchcox, Chief Revenue Officer at Pilothouse

Connecting with loved ones can help you refocus your mindset while reminding you what you’re working towards.

💬 “Being a dad to an 8-year-old is both a source of potential burnout, as well as its antidote. But love trumps all, and my love for Iris is endlessly refreshing and a constant reminder of why I’m working so hard.” Eric Dyck , cofounder at DTC Newsletter and Podcast

👉 What are your best tips for avoiding burnout? We want to know and share the best ones! Hit that email reply button and let us know!

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