Burnout During COVID

DWN Members,

I can’t believe it’s only October–2020 feels like it’s lasting a lifetime. With kids recently starting school again, the continued violence against the Black community, the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fires burning across the west coast, 6+ months since the COVID pandemic began in the U.S., not to mention juggling our many job responsibilities … there is so much going on, and of course, much more than what I just mentioned. I know many of us are currently feeling, or have recently felt, anxious, stressed, exhausted, or all of the above. Burnout is real.

According to award-winning author Emily Nagoski, burnout is, “the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted by everything you have to do, while still worrying that you are not doing enough.”

While anyone can experience burnout, since COVID began, women are twice as likely to experience burnout and physical symptoms of severe anxiety according to a recent study by Lean In. On average, women take on 20+ more hours each week than men on unpaid domestic work from chores to childcare which lead women to feel they must “always be on.” Studies pre-COVID show that workplace inequalities also contribute to higher burnout rates among women.

While the DWN leadership team are by no means experts in mental health, we wanted to share some tips and resources we have found useful as of late to help better support you.

Tips for Everyone

Set boundaries:

  • Set time a of day when you’re done with work
  • If you work from home, create a space where you work that is separate from where you relax
  • Communicate to your manager what’s important to you. For example, if you have a morning workout routine or evening counseling appointments, ask to schedule meetings to leave room for those commitments. If you’re a parent, make sure to communicate your schedule and needs to support your family.
  • Take time off — and stay disconnected from work, whenever possible

Set intentions:

  • Take 60 seconds at the start of your day to set your intentions and/or reflect on what you’re grateful for
  • Make goals for areas you may be struggling in: sleep, exercise, or eating
  • Find an accountability partner for these goals

Tips for Managers

  • Understand that you or your team can experience burnout, and take steps early to recognize and mitigate the causes
  • Demonstrate empathy and understanding
  • Check in with your employees periodically on how they’re doing and how you can support them
  • Ask your team what is important to them and provide the flexibility to support these priorities (see the third bullet under ‘Tips for Everyone’)
  • When your employees take PTO, encourage them to truly disconnect from work
  • Create a space, such as open office hours, to connect with your teams on non-work items



Alison Moy

DWN President

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