Whether you are an entrepreneur or still working a job, when burnout hits, it can sometimes feel like there’s no end in sight to the exhaustion. There are often signs that a burnout is coming, however, many people miss the signals and have to find a way to deal with and recover from the event.
Entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, and key employees are more likely to succumb to work burnout. However, just about anyone who works can experience it. Fortunately, the struggle doesn’t have to last forever. In this article, you’ll learn how to recover from business owner burnout.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a form of severe exhaustion caused by long-term stress on your mind and body. Burnout is much more than just feeling tired – it usually follows a period of intense overworking, something many entrepreneurs struggle with.
Work burnout isn’t something that happens overnight. Instead, it slowly develops as we continue to push ourselves to the limit with work. Entrepreneurs struggling with burnout may feel so exhausted that it seems impossible to be productive or optimistic about the business.
Although it can sometimes feel like the end of the world when burnout strikes, there’s still hope. Burnout progresses in stages, typically starting from a period of consistent stress and ultimately, if left unaddressed, it can even manifest into depression and other long-term health issues.
Regardless of where you are on the road to burnout, there are actions you can take to do some damage control and redirect your mental health. Burnout doesn’t have to mean the end of your business unless you let it.
Recover from Burnout
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is described as the act of being fully mentally present in your current environment and whatever you’re engaged with at the time. It sounds simple, and that’s because it is. In the modern world of distractions and buttons and sounds, it’s important to take a step back from time to time and focus on the now.
It’s not always easy to practice mindfulness, especially if you’re the type of individual that likes to multitask or is easily distracted. However, in that case, you’re probably the person who will benefit the most from it.
Here are some ways you can practice mindfulness in your day-to-day activities:
- Empathize with yourself. Entrepreneurship is a cutthroat world, but that doesn’t mean you have to be cruel to yourself. It’s all too easy to keep raising the bar and telling yourself to just work more or work harder. Instead, try to be compassionate and gentle with yourself. Not every day is going to be productive, and that’s okay.
- Take note of your environment. Throughout the day, take small breaks. During these breaks, practice some deep breathing. Look around at your work environment and take note of what you see, smell, feel, and hear. Engaging with your senses can calm your body and soothe your stress.
- Live in the moment. When you’re focusing on a single task, try to devote your full attention to that task, and nothing else. If you feel distracted by new ideas and to-do lists, write things down for later instead of switching activities. If you feel yourself losing concentration, redirect yourself to the project at hand.
2. Bite-Sized Tasks
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re confronting a long to-do list. To help relieve some stress, curb those expectations and break your tasks down into bite-sized pieces. For example, if you need to have 10 products finished by the end of the week, try and schedule 2 a day. It may take a little longer to get it done, but you’ll end up saving yourself a lot of frustration and exhaustion later on.
3. Get Some Rest
It’s a widely known fact that sleep is a necessity for survival – and the lack thereof could actually be contributing directly to your burnout. The National Sleep Foundation says that “sleeping less than six hours each night is the best predictor for clinical burnout”.
Some people feel more productive working long hours, and hustle culture has pushed this belief even further. Even if you feel like you’re on a roll, you should seriously take breaks and make sure to get enough sleep at night. Losing sleep now might seem worth it for the extra work you can accomplish, but in the long run, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your body.
4. Reconnect with Your Passion
You probably remember the spark you felt when you first started your business. You felt inspired, energized, and excited to bring something new into the world. That feeling doesn’t have to go away. Sometimes, all those long hours can drain our energy and leave us disconnected from the thing that inspired us in the first place.
If you feel disillusioned with your original dream, try to reconnect with it. Spend some time engaging with your passion on terms beyond work – either at home, with friends, or in a new environment altogether. Rekindling that spark might be just what you need to feel rejuvenated.
5. Stress Management
Burnout happens when we neglect to set healthy boundaries with our work and take on more than we can handle. In burnout prevention and recovery, stress management should be your number one priority. Understanding how to compartmentalize stress and manage your time can go a long way in keeping you healthy, feeling fresh, and productive.
Here are some ways you can practice stress management as a small business owner:
- Reward your success. Identify what you’ve been working hard on and what you do really well, and take the time to congratulate and reward yourself for it. Encouragement and self-support can help you stay motivated to excel in other work-related activities.
- Create a schedule. Keeping a realistic schedule can help you manage your time more efficiently without losing sleep or personal time. It’ll also make it easier to focus on one task at a time until the next segment of your schedule starts. Try to stick to the schedule without pushing your limits.
- Learn to say “No”. You’re a busy individual, and you don’t owe everyone a piece of your time. Setting and maintaining boundaries with others can free up your schedule for the important stuff – yourself and your business.
6. Ask for Help
Most importantly, if you feel you’re at risk of burnout, it’s critical to ask for help. There are dozens of resources available for entrepreneurs experiencing burnout and other mental health issues. Take advantage of the help available to you, and don’t be afraid to gain some insight from a mental health professional.
7. Don’t Give Up
Entrepreneurs are notorious for working themselves to the bone. Unfortunately, the modern culture encourages us to burn the candle at both ends, but it just isn’t sustainable – or healthy. Take a step back and slow down sometimes. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel and how much more you can accomplish. Don’t give up on your dreams and let burnout win. Take control and move ahead with confidence.