Now that work and caregiving are happening under the same roof, it may feel like the hustle never stops. If you've been feeling the familiar trifecta of exhaustion, detachment, and inefficacy, you might be experiencing burnout.
Burnout tends to affect Type A people—those whose lives are often one and the same with their jobs. It is also an affliction of privilege and wealth, mostly occurring in the middle- and upper-class for workers who have the option to walk away from work when they need a break.
"People in the midst of crises typically do whatever needs to be done," says Torsten Voight, a sociologist at Germany's RWTH Aachen University. "... Later, from a more comfortable place, [they] start to reflect and say, 'This is insane, and I can't do it anymore.'”
Burnout may be caused by the desire to replicate the quality and quantity of work you might do in the office. "If you think that you can achieve the same in a home working environment, you will be stressed every day until you accept that you cannot," says Rajvinder Samra, a lecture at Open University in London who specializes in burnout.
The best way to combat burnout is by restructuring your schedule and setting aside time for you to recover from stress. Try to introduce brain breaks into your day—five to twenty minutes dedicated to doing something other than work, chores, or caregiving, like meditation or exercise.
Recovery blocks may also help alleviate burnout. Spend 30 minutes or more engaging in calming activities, especially at the end of the day after you've checked out. "Recovery at night helps your performance the next day," says Samra.
Most importantly, regain control of your life. Talk to your boss, identify the stressors over which you have no power, accept the present situation as it is. Figure out what work you love versus the work you hate.
If you don't enjoy a task, Samra says you should delegate, share, get support, and reschedule. If you find a task pleasurable or meaningful, try to do more of it as often as you can.