After almost one year, many working from home are feeling fed up and fatigued
SUSSEX, N.B. -- Luke Brown has given new meaning to the term "working from home."
He packed up his one-bedroom apartment in Ottawa and headed back to his hometown of Sussex to do his job as a general manager for a theatre company -- remotely.
"We didn't at that time know a lot of the things we know now about the virus, so I wanted to be close to family as we were all figuring out what was happening," Brown said.
It's now been nearly one year since he stepped foot into the office -- a milestone many of us are marking, with the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic in March 2020.
According to Stats Canada, the number of people working from home has gone up by nearly 700,000 to 5.4-million in January, and registered psychologist Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley of Halifax says many of us are feeling fed up and fatigued.
"There's a sense of burnout, and burnout is about emotional exhaustion, cynicism, what's the point and reduced professional efficacy, so I think we're all kind of feeling that about the pandemic," said Lee-Baggley.
Brown agrees with that assessment.
"The pandemic and working at home did take a toll on my mental health, absolutely and in retrospect I think I probably should have taken more mental health days and I think everyone should consider that," Brown said.
Chris Collins has worked from home for years now, although the pandemic has made things much less personal -- a part of the job he misses.
"You don't have that face-to-face contact with people, everything is virtual, it's either email phone call or video conference, so that is very different," Collins said.
For some, finding ways to focus at home can be a challenge, making routines and self care all the more important.
"Going to work offers us is gives us a sense of routine, a sense of purpose and it offers us opportunities to socialize, so we're trying to recreate that in our home environments," Lee-Baggley said.
Brown looks for ways to make the "new normal" feel a little less abnormal.
"Just to give my brain some form of distinction, like my little tiny walk to my desk every day is now my walk to work, just to give my brain that sense of routine even though it's so abnormal," he said.
Lee-Baggley also pointed to the importance of informal ways of socializing, like group chats with your colleagues or other moms from school -- as well, to break up the monotony of the day. She recommends things that activate your five senses -- even if it's something as simple as a new shampoo.