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Many have never heard of the phrase digital burnout but most likely experienced it at least once. The WHO defines burnout as feelings of negativism toward one’s job that significantly reduces the quality of their work. Digital burnout, or experiencing burnout from spending too much time on digital devices for work, has become a growing problem over the last couple of years, and the pandemic is doing nothing but further feeding the monster.

An “Always-On” Culture Leads to Burnout

Many millennials feel like their work requires them to always be on or, in other words, their jobs require their undivided attention throughout the day. Balancing the pressures of work, social life, and family matters can take its toll on anyone. And now, due to the lockdown, our work is literally just an arm’s length away.

There’s an important point of distinction between feeling tired and burnout. In a general sense, feeling tired is commonly due to medical background, whereas burnout is trigger by work-related conditions. In an always-on work ethic, the seemingly unscalable mountain of work and responsibilities can make it impossible for someone to just drop what they’re doing and rest. This is especially true for business owners who need to keep track of their finances, recruit and hire new staff, keep track of ad spending, and organize their endless stack of incoming work.

Identifying the Signs of Digital Burnout

In the UK, the lockdown has led to a 40% increase in consuming online videos, with 75% of those polled expressing that they’ve experienced digital burnout. Digitally-driven burnout and traditional burnouts are one and the same, except the source of the problem stems from extensive usage of digital devices. The following list describes common symptoms associated with burnout.

·         Feeling drained and unmotivated

·         Frequent muscle pain

·         Unhealthy changes in eating and sleeping patterns

·         Increased feelings of self-doubt

·         Procrastination

·         A sense of detachment from the world

·         Prolonged feelings of defeat

·         Digestive problems

·         Shortness of breath

·         Weakened immune system

4 Ways to Overcome Digital Burnout

Most people would inform you that the most successful way of dealing with digital burnout is to log out, take a step away from your computer, and do something else. However, those who’ve experienced digital burnout will know that these things are a lot easier said than done. How do you overcome the nagging feeling in the back of your mind, constantly reminding you the longer you “relax,” the more work you’ll have to do when you eventually log back on?

Our jobs require us to always be reachable at all hours of the day, and simply turning off our devices and catching up on sleep can only lead to further exhaustion. But that’s not to say that overcoming digital burnout is impossible. Here are four approaches you can implement to douse digitally-driven fatigue.

1. Set a “happy to respond” time

Countless people who work from home feel the need to stop whatever they’re doing to respond to emails, chats, and phone calls as soon as possible. This can lead to a constant sense of urgency, which drives people to exhaustion and anxiety. To combat these feelings, limit the hours you’re willing to accept work-related demands and inquiries. You’d be surprised by how much of your work can wait for a response the next day.

2. Move, move, move

Many of us have limited our communication avenues exclusive to text messaging, social media posts, and email. This ultimately forces you to remain in front of your computer to communicate. If at all possible, try moving around while you work. Giving your legs something to do while attending online meetings, for instance, can help you feel more relaxed and ready to take on your impending workload.

3. Spend time on your hobbies

Hobbies, or rather purposeful activities, can significantly boost your mental wellbeing. Try finding an activity that you thoroughly enjoy doing—something that challenges you; occupies your mind, even at work; and forces you to engage with others. If you don’t know where to look for a hobby, try remembering what you enjoyed doing as a child and start from there.

4. Schedule an appointment with your doctor

Burnout isn’t one of those things that millennials made up to justify their failure to meet deadlines. Medical professionals can now diagnose and prescribe treatment to help patients deal with prolonged work-related exhaustion. If you’ve come to the point where self-help treatments are no longer effective, schedule an appointment with your doctor to see what your doctor can prescribe to turn you into a happier version of yourself.

Closing Thoughts

Digital burnout is a plague on the workforce that needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Above, we offered four ways that you can incorporate into your professional and personal life to overcome the monster that negatively impacts the quality of your work and mental health. Remember: leaving the problem isn’t going to do you, your employers, and/or your business any favors.