There has been a lot of talk about burnout during the COVID pandemic, and rightfully so—new working arrangements (or unemployment), coupled with family responsibilities and the stresses of living through this ongoing public health crisis can be overwhelming.
But that’s not the only type of work-induced exhaustion that could be affecting you right now: you may be experiencing “boreout.” Here’s what you need to know about the concept, and how to deal with it.
What is ‘boreout’?
What’s “boreout,” you ask? It’s a term coined by Swiss business consultants Peter Werder and Philippe Rothlin in 2007 to describe a lack of stimulation, challenge, or tasks at your job. It also manifests in having days feeling like they’re all running together. If you’ve experienced burnout, that may sound like the ideal work scenario, but can also lead to exhaustion and depression.
And like burnout, boreout has been on the rise during the pandemic. “Over the last few months, you’ll have experienced a lot of change to your everyday working life,” Fatmata Kamara, a specialist mental health advisor at a British health insurance company tells Red Magazine. “Whether you’ve swapped your commute to working from home, you’ve been on furlough or you’ve stayed in the office with a reduced team, we’ve all had to adapt. It’s normal for your mental health to have been impacted.”
Along the same lines, your working environment can also impact your mental health, “especially if you have little interaction with your fellow employees,” Kamara adds.
How to cope with boreout
If what we’ve described sounds familiar, and you’re losing track of the passage of time because you’re being underutilized at work, you may be experiencing boreout. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that could help, Red Magazine reports.
Talk to your manager
The conversation may be awkward, but if your boreout is a result of your job, it’s a good idea to at least approach the subject with your boss—similarly to how you’d bring up burnout. That doesn’t mean asking for additional work or more difficult tasks, but it should involve coming to the discussion with some ideas for how to improve your situation.
Set mini-goals throughout the day
To help give your day more structure—and help regain your sense of time—you can also try setting small, achievable goals for yourself throughout the day. Reframing your daily tasks in this way may help you to feel more accomplished.
Evaluate your bigger goals
This is a good time to take a step back and take a look at your career goals, and figure out what you need to do to achieve them. Of course, not everyone has the luxury of having a job that aligns with their goals, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least think about where you eventually want to end up.
As you revisit what were once your primary aims in life, if there’s something that causes you to immediately tense up when you think about it, it may be time to reconsider whether it belongs on your list.