Dealing with Pandemic Burnout

Simon Hargreaves
4 min readFeb 16, 2021
Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

Most of us have gone through this or are going through it now, and if you haven’t hit the wall yet, count yourself lucky. Pandemic Burnout like typical work stress-related burnout can feel overwhelming and like you can’t deal with “all this”. It is normal for sustained stressful situations like the situation we find ourselves in to take its mental toll, and a lot of the symptoms can cross over with mild to moderate depression. Whatever you are feeling keep in mind that seeking help from a mental health professional is always going to be a benefit.

What are the symptoms of Pandemic Burnout?

You will likely be suffering from pandemic burnout if you feel some or all of these symptoms.

  • Overwhelming emotional exhaustion — this can manifest itself as feeling tired even if you’ve slept well, low threshold for anger or emotional upset, and taking innocuous messages or emails as a personal criticism.
  • Cynicism and detachment — lacking enjoyment in things, being unable to relate the same to loved ones, or chronic lack of motivation.
  • Feeling like a lack of accomplishment — feeling like even after a full day you haven’t achieved much, the hamster wheel syndrome of exerting a lot of effort but not actually getting anywhere or being unable to settle as you feel you haven’t done enough.

What are the causes of Burnout?

There isn’t a singular cause of burnout and is a combination of factors for a sustained period of time. Common factors include:

  • Lack of control — Lockdown and travel restrictions inherently reduce your level of control, but also smaller issues like IT problems, slow internet, broken VPNs, delayed deliveries or not being able to control your home workspace all add to this.
  • Lack of structure — With competing pressures of homeschooling as well as home working can lead to overlapping responsibilities. The fuzzy boundaries of home and work can make you feel like you don’t have downtime.
  • Juggling opposing and competing pressures — As different demands for your time compete you can feel like there aren’t any contiguous blocks of time where you can get something done and you are forced to multi-task.
Simon Hargreaves

I've a writer, film maker, team leader and technologist. Working on the forefront of creative technology for over 20 years.