We have so many clients experiencing major burnout right now. It isn’t surprising as entrepreneurs have a higher risk of burnout.
Entrepreneurs rarely have set office hours; instead, they are always on duty. They juggle all the aspects of planning, marketing, sales, project management, and follow-up and make hundreds (thousands?) of decisions during the business week. They often work alone, especially if their business is small or just starting.
In some seasons, these things can unleash your passions and generate boundless energy. But, at other times, all the demands, deadlines, and decisions feel like a drain. Like a grind. Like you have no more resources to draw from.
If this sounds like you, we want to help you fight burnout and build resiliency for the next season.
Are you Experiencing Burnout?
First, assess yourself. We all have bad days or busy seasons. Burnout is something deeper and more serious than that. Derek Halpern, founder of Social Triggers, came up with 9 questions you should ask yourself. If you say “yes” to more than four, you are experiencing some degree of burnout:
- Are you exhausted all the time?
- Do you feel more anxious about your business than you used to?
- Feeling overwhelmed and indecisive?
- Do you struggle to focus?
- Have headaches?
- Suffer from sleeplessness?
- Do you get angry about small stuff that used to not bother you?
- Are you emotionally more and more disengaged from your business?
- Do you feel totally frustrated, stuck, or uncreative at work?
If you said “yes” to more than four, don’t be discouraged. It is completely normal. But, if you are facing burnout, you want to identify the underlying causes and reverse the effects.
Healing from Burnout
Once you’ve acknowledged that you are experiencing burnout, take small steps to move through it.
#1 Practice Self-compassion
What would you say to a friend who came to you and described feeling exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed? What if they mentioned headaches, sleepless nights, or growing anger over small things? You would listen and show compassion. With kindness, you would encourage them to hit pause and get help. Do these same things for yourself.
Burnout is real, not just something to “push through” or “get over” in an afternoon. Be gentle and show yourself compassion.
#2 Get to the Source
Then, can you identify the root of your burnout? Too busy? Pulled in too many directions? Lack of support from friends and family? Decision fatigue? Financial stress? Disappointment with the growth of your business? Everything??
For now, just identify and name the factors that are contributing to burnout. Later, when you are in a better place, you can work on tackling each one.
In his post, Burnout Will Kill Your Business, Startup Grind’s Jordan Kasteler has this line: “Add nothing to your plate until you’ve healed.” This is excellent advice.
Look at your schedule. Is there anything you can remove or postpone? If so, do it. And, as Kasteler says, avoid taking on anything new until you’ve healed. You need time to rest, reflect, reduce stress, and get inspired.
#4 Share your Struggle
Talk to a trusted friend or family member, especially someone who has experienced burnout themselves, or hire a business coach. A business coach is an ideal person to walk with you as you heal from burnout. As a catalyst, a clarifier, and a cheerleader, a business coach can help you rediscover your passion, focus on what is most important to you and your business, and encourage you in your present season.
Going forward, you want to begin to incorporate resiliency practices to stave off burnout in the future and keep you and your business energized and healthy!
Consider building these 9 resiliency practices into your daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms—even if it means putting them on your calendar!
Let’s start with three great practices to enhance you physically . . .
While sleep can be elusive for some of us, do all that you can to get good rest every night. Try adding these good sleep habits one at a time:
- Wind down your use of screens at least an hour before bed.
- Make sure your room is dark and cool.
- Try to go to bed/get up at the same time each day.
Get the water you need each day to help your body feel more refreshed. It is recommended that you drink ½ of your body weight in ounces each day. If you weigh 140 lbs, for example, drink 70 oz each day. Might be a great time to invest in that new water bottle!
Like hydration, good eating throughout the day can go a long way in making you feel stronger, healthier, and energized. Start with proactive shopping and preparing to help ensure good eating.
Now, let’s look at three intellectual practices . . .
As an entrepreneur you have probably felt like you are on an ever-uphill learning curve as you keep up with all the information and training required for your business. But what about learning that is distinct from that? Learn something that is just for your own personal edification, inspired by your own curiosity and interests!
Like with learning, take time to read for pleasure and enjoyment—not just to enhance or grow your business. Take to your favorite social media platform and ask for recommendations from friends. Tell them what kind of genres you enjoy and books you have enjoyed in the past. And, consider getting a hardcopy so you can read it before bed!
You know this one is near and dear to the heart of SOWBO. We are working everyday to help you connect to like-minded, encouraging women! Take advantage of these relationships and participate in our facebook group and in our masterminds and retreats!
Finally, here are three spiritual/emotional practices to help you build resilience in the next season . . .
What was like before you took that giant leap of faith? Why did you start your business? What were some of your earlier successes? Remember your big breaks, your biggest fans, and why you do what you do.
And, after you remember, take time to appreciate. Appreciate your family and friends, mentors, and clients. Then, drop them a note or a text to tell them how much you appreciate them!
Whether it is a time of prayer, meditation, or reflection, take time everyday to get quiet. Just stop, breathe, and be honest, thankful, and hopeful. Keep that spiritual tank filled.
Burnout Isn’t the End
If you have experienced burnout, you are not alone. Far from it. You need to acknowledge this dry season, heal, and take steps to incorporate rhythms to keep burnout far from your door in the future. You’ll be stronger, refreshed, and ready to help others facing burnout.