Dealing With Isolation & Minimizing Burnout: COVID-19 Edition

Last night I noticed an uptick in stats for the original post on how people who are new to working from home can deal with isolation and minimize the likelihood of burnout. And that’s cool and all…but it basically tells you to get the fuck out of the house and do stuff. Which, during COVID-19 is much more difficult with shelter in place orders and most states ordering non-essential businesses to close. So, it’s time to update that and talk about some ways you can deal with isolation and minimize burnout when the world is scary and we’re being told to stay the fuck at home for our safety and for the safety of others.

Make Use of Social Media

And use it as it is intended: be fucking social. Business owners have this thing where they prefer to talk at people and do nothing but promote, promote, promote themselves and their content instead of talking to others…and then, especially newer businesses without much of a following, wonder why they can’t get any fucking traction. Well, because you’re not being social. It’s a different ballpark when you have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers and trolls and cannot and should not respond to everyone. As for small businesses and individuals working from home, be social. Use social media to engage with others. Will they engage back? Maybe or maybe not. You can’t force them to do so. It might be like middle school all over again (and no one enjoys rejection…but it truly is part of life).

Related: 4 Things to Do Immediately to Improve Work Life Integration

But for fuck’s sake, start engaging in selective ignorance. Stop drowning yourself in news. You know COVID-19 is out there. You know the numbers are climbing. You know what you need to do. You know it makes you nervous. Pick once a day to read one or two stories and then stop. No more COVID news. It doesn’t make anything better and it doesn’t make anything worse regardless of whether you read it.

Talk to your friends on social media. Make new friends on social media. Share jokes. Share memes. Share an image that sums up your work from home day. Share three things you’re grateful for on social media.

Use Social Media to Find Online Gatherings

There’s an increase in virtual happy hours, meet and greets, and all sorts of online shenanigans. All you have to do is jump on Twitter and find them. I’m sure there on Facebook as well. There all over #LawTwitter. Look for some in your industry. And if you don’t see one, start one. There are free online meeting tools that you can use such as Slack or Skype. You can do it weekly or even daily. You don’t have to make it solely for the people you work with. You can use it as an opportunity to meet new people in your industry or others who would make good contacts in the future…or just meet new people who are fun.

Set Specific Work Hours and Stick to Them

I probably should have said this first. When you’re new to working from home, and specifically when you have no choice except to work from home…and it’s not like you can get away from it, it is really fucking hard to separate your home life from your work. I’ve worked from home for six years. I love what I do. I’m extremely introverted. So, even before COVID-19, it didn’t bother me to spend an inordinate amount of time alone or just with my family. My oldest son is almost 22 and is just like me in that respect. He said that this pandemic has certainly separated out the real introverts from those who thought they were introverts, but I digress…

To prevent burnout, it is essential for most of you to set a work schedule and stick to it. Don’t deviate. When it’s time to stop working, stop. Then it’s time to engage in hobbies and the shit you would normally do on any other day when you worked in an office. Don’t work outside of the hours unless you have some sort of extenuating circumstance that you’ve already discussed with your boss. Do not get into the habit of working 24/7 when your boss isn’t going to pay you for it. That’s total bullshit.

Related: How to Win High Paying Gigs on Upwork [YouTube Video]

Go Outside, Weather Permitting

Even in shelter in place states, you’re still allowed to go outside. You just need to stay six feet away from others. Stay out of crowded stores. Go to the store one per week. (And if you’re not immune compromised, and you live near someone who is or an elderly person ask if they need anything from the store and go for them. Don’t be a selfish asshole!) Weather permitting, go outside. Get some sunshine. Ten minutes of sunshine might not protect any of us from COVID-19, but it can do wonders for our fucking moods. If you have children, taken them outside. Get them off the screens. I can tell you from experience as a previous homeschooling mom, it does not take six hours to do school work. The reason it takes that long in public schools is because there are too many children in one room with one adult. The children have different learning styles and other individual things going on. So, take your kids outside. If you can, get a trampoline with a safety net. Supervise them so they don’t break anything. But at the very least, go outside. They need to be outside. They need to run and play. I took my sons outside daily, weather permitting, to run and play. It improves their behavior by leaps and bounds. I take BB out, too.

Do Nice Things for Yourself

They don’t have to cost a lot and they don’t have to come from Amazon Prime. I mean, you could watch Amazon Prime videos…those aren’t delayed. And thankfully, my caffeinated stuff I order is still getting here (a bit delayed, but I am not complaining). I drink it to help minimize migraines along with what I take for preventative. You’re stuck at home and I know that for many of you that fucking sucks. I know. And I’m sorry. I truly am. That’s not an “I’m sorry you feel that way.” It is a genuine I’m sorry. I hate that for you. I know we’re not all the same.

But there’s nothing we can do right now to change it…so let’s try to make it not suck so much for you. I want you to plan something nice for yourself every day. You don’t have to call it self-care. I know there’s some blow back about that. I don’t give a shit what you call it. I’m just trying to help make your day suck less. So, find something every day that you can schedule. Maybe it’s 30 minutes of yoga. Maybe it’s 30 minutes of online krav maga. Maybe it’s 30 minutes of your favorite craft. Maybe you lock yourself in the bathroom for 30 minutes and eat ice cream. I’m not judging…just do something.

Get Some Fucking Exercise – Seriously

This never wins me any friends. Ever. But, get up and move. You don’t need a gym to get some exercise. Amazon Prime and YouTube have free exercise videos. Many are simple and based on body weight. While exercise isn’t some magic cure all, it does release hormones into the body that help us cope better with stressful situations, like COVID-19. And exercise is also good for the brain.

Life doesn’t have to suck if you feel like you’ve been exiled to your home. You’ll get through this. I promise.

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