Don’t let yourself burn out.

This year has been hard.

Millions of people have already lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the prospect of a second-wave ahead, it’s likely that many more will, too.

In the UK, companies have furloughed large numbers of staff as part of the Job Retention Scheme, designed to minimise job losses.

I’ve been lucky, in that regard. MadeBrave’s Creative Technology Team had quite a few jobs approved just before lockdown began, so we’ve been relatively busy throughout the pandemic. That, though, can lead to another problem: burnout.

Trapped in the house

Burnout is going to be one of the big problems companies are going to face over the next several months.

In normal times, the year would have been broken up by holidays — maybe a few days away over Easter; a family holiday in the summer — but due to travel restrictions and lockdown, people who have been working have probably been doing so nonstop. And working from home means that many people would have little reason to leave their house.

Again, I’ve been somewhat lucky in that regard: having a dog gives an excuse to leave the house — he needs his two walks every day, after all. But still, the overwhelming feeling throughout the pandemic, for me personally, has been one of being trapped in the house.

Admit that you’re burnt out

I find it hard to realise when I’m burnt out. Even when I do realise that I’m burnt out, I don’t admit it: I just try to carry on regardless.

I worry that, if I take time off to recover, that it’ll put strain on the rest of the team. I worry that the rest of the team will have to work harder to meet deadlines.

The problem is, when I’m working while burnt out, I’m already putting strain on the team because I’m less productive and make more stupid mistakes, and the rest of the team has to deal with that.

Working while burnt out doesn’t help anything. It’s not good, and it’s not healthy.

Our society, in general, doesn’t give mental health the attention it deserves. Taking care of our mental health is important.

Admitting that you’re burnt out is hard, but can’t get better until you do.

Stop and do something else

When you realise that you’re burnt out, stop. Turn off the computer. Do something else. And don’t go back to work until you’re ready.

If you were sick, you’d take time off work until you feel better. Mental health is the same: if you’re feeling burnt out, take time off work until you feel better.

For me, I need to completely unplug: rent a cottage in the middle of nowhere in the Scottish Highlands — no internet connection, no TV. Just me, my partner, and my dog.

Panorama of the Scottish highlands

What you need might be different. Maybe you need to spend 3 days playing Zelda on your Nintendo Switch. Maybe you need to spend the a few days painting.

Just stop, and do what you need to do to feel better.

Lewis Dorigo

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