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Working in a bubble: What it is and how to deal with it

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When it is impossible to disconnect from work, conditions are created that contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression. Discover some strategies to deal with this.

consider the following phrase: “Home, office, bedroom, and work: where does the day begin and end?”. This phrase is about (and condemns) periods of time without boundaries, to activities that merge with a space previously limited to certain functions. This is how the syndrome of working in a bubble arises; when you cannot draw a line between your private life and your work life, when you are constantly connected to your job.

Of course, there may be some advantages to this situation, but at the same time, it is not without consequences. Especially in terms of health. Let’s look at what it is and what strategies we can adopt to strike a balance.

What does it mean to work in a bubble?

Working in a bubble refers to the difficulties employees have in disconnecting from their work obligations .

This is not really new, but it has been amplified by the pandemic. Remote work and merging with the offline and online worlds or blurring the boundaries between them are the prerequisites for this situation. Some signs that show you are working in a bubble are the following:

  • Lost interest in anything that isn’t working.
  • Obsessive addiction or control of the mobile phone, e-mail, and notifications.
  • Excessive use of technology and the Internet. The person may experience intense discomfort when apps crash or wifi disconnects.
  • Sleep and appetite disorders.
  • Mood disorders: stress, anxiety, nervousness.
  • Depletion in topics of conversation, because everything begins and ends at work.

How do you get out of the bubble?

From the symptoms described above, one can expect them to create consequences in all areas of life. We are not only talking about lower performance and creativity at work because we never rest but also interference with self-care and social relationships.

Of course, daily stress can also lead to problems of greater complexity, such as depression and anxiety disorders. Therefore, here are some recommendations to keep in mind to deal with bubble worker syndrome.

Make a limited list of tasks

List the duties to be performed during the day. This helps you have a clear picture of what you have to solve, prioritize its importance and avoid working more than you should.

Book some time for physical activity

If you find it hard to keep up with exercise, or if you usually skip it altogether, try to find someone else to exercise with. In this way, it becomes more difficult to back out or come up with excuses .

Get out of the house

Maybe you’re not particularly interested in being outdoors, but it’s a way to avoid the temptation to sit in front of the computer. It is good to do activities without having your mobile with you. For example, go for a walk in the park and leave your mobile phone at home.

Take breaks during the working day

You can use them to stretch your body, listen to a song, close your eyes and breathe. Find something that makes you feel good and take a few minutes to do it.

Practice saying “no”

Both with yourself and with other people. Even if you are passionate about your work, you must also be able to set a limit.

You don’t have to solve everything today; it’s probably also fine to leave one or another email unanswered until tomorrow. It’s also a good idea to state the hours you are available for work and make sure to stick to them.

Create a pleasant working environment

It promotes a more positive atmosphere if you are a team leader or manager. Taking care of your employees is also a way of taking care of yourself.

If everyone keeps a compulsive pace without breaks, the stress will increase. Therefore, it is important, even if people work remotely, to ensure that there are spaces for informal socializing, taking time to joke, to have a relaxed atmosphere at work

The challenge is to stop working in a bubble and find balance

Life is like juggling balls: in order to keep it going and succeed, we must try to keep all the colored balls in balance, and not give more attention to one than to another. This metaphor gives us a perspective on the different spaces where our activities take place; work and professional development, relationships, self-care and health, friendship, and relationships.

When we put too much emphasis on one of these balls, we neglect the others and risk losing them. And when it sometimes happens that we drop them, so even if they don’t break, they get a little damage.

Therefore, we should try to reserve time and space for each of the things, activities, and people that interest us. Take care of them, enjoy them, and connect with them. We must understand that although work is a significant part of our lives, it is not our whole life.

Finally, as part of a society, we also have a role to uphold. We need to stop rewarding 24/7 availability.

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