We are currently in the midst of Sydney’s second lockdown and so many of us are feeling the same. From eye strain and cabin fever to back pain and poor eating habits, our routines are out the window. For those of us typically in a hybrid way of working, working from home is all getting a little bit too much.
As we count down the minutes to 5pm so we can officially leave our desk, we are physically and mentally exhausted, even after wearing the most comfortable (yet, professional) clothing we own in the comfort of our own home. However, while our calendar is filled with work tasks, so does our real life to do list of having kids at home, a spouse, a house, a dog and so much more. This digital information overload can cause heightened levels of anxiety, stress, irritability and mental fatigue.
As we sit at our desks all day, unaware of the hours ticking by as we work through our to do lists (that we are grateful to have), we are struggling with the isolation, the lack of connection, the boredom, the Groundhog Day-esque existence we are currently living. In our team meeting recently, and as we’ve heard from our clients, we are all feeling very similarly. The biggest culprit? Digital fatigue.
What is digital fatigue?
Digital fatigue is “a recognized state of mental exhaustion and disengagement that occurs when people are required to use numerous digital tools and apps concurrently and in an ongoing way.” [source]
The symptoms of digital fatigue include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of energy
- Mental clarity
- Negative physical effects
- Negative psychological effects
- Lower productivity
- Inability to focus
- Sore shoulders, neck and back
- Lack of concentration
- Irritable or snappy
- Overwhelmed by the repetitiveness of your day
There are plenty of effective, yet absolutely achievable ways to reduce burnout when you’re suffering from digital fatigue. We have a few tips that we use throughout the team here at Corporate Edge, so we encourage you to find ways that work for you and build these practices into your daily schedule.
1. A Moving Meeting
Does a 1-1 internal meeting really need to be a video call? Take it as a phone call, and both parties get outside – walk and talk! Not only are you up and away from your desk, you’re moving your body and getting some fresh air and sunshine – a few crucial ingredients to getting those happy hormones flowing!
2. Healthy Habits
Healthy eating and keeping healthy habits are so important to not falling into a lockdown trap and poor habits that are harder to break. Try taking 10-15min breaks throughout the day, in addition to your lunch break to step away from your desk and go outside. Use your lunch break to go for a walk and take a break from technology and just be present with yourself and nature (if possible). Keeping these healthy habits will keep your brain and body active and engaged, minimising the feeling of repetitiveness of each day.
3. Reduce digital tools
Choose one method of communication – whether that’s emails, Teams, Slack or phone calls, limiting the number of digital tools required each day will allow your brain the space to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. It also reduces anxiety about missing an important email or urgent task because you’re focusing on too much.
4. Take some time off
Know and understand that it is okay to take a break. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need to reset. Take the day off and do something for yourself. Just having that mental break from work, stress, video calls and everything else that comes with working from home will ensure you come back feeling rested, refreshed and with purpose.
Just remember, being kind and gentle on yourself is so incredibly important right now. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, eat well and chat to friends and family about anything else other than work, COVID or lockdown.
You’ll see a major difference in your mindset, plus you will be avoiding burnout.