You’re in the process of building a business. And you’re obsessed, no, possessed by it. You’re checking Google Analytics first thing in the morning and you’re working until 1am (on top of doing your day job). You can’t wait for this amazing life that you’re building for yourself and you’re just SO PASSIONATE.
And then burnout happens.
Burnout is something that all business owners need to watch out for. Why? Because we meet the criteria for all the possible causes of job burnout:
- Work-life imbalance – If you’re just starting out, you might be working your day job alongside your side-hustle, leading to serious issues with your work-life balance.
- Lack of social support – Lots of people have said that it’s lonely at the top, and you may find that your friends and family just don’t understand what you do.
- Hyper Focused for a long period of time – Living a life of extremes isn’t good for you either. Working at 100% for a number of months will only lead to exhaustion too.
- Lack of control – Sometimes, algorithms change or a supplier goes under and we feel out of control of our own business.
Simply put, burnout is your body reacting to working and being stressed all the time. While you might not always feel like you’re stressed or overworked because you’re enjoying the work you’re doing, that will dry up if you work every hour of every day.
Day-to-day stress can contribute to burnout too. If you’re doing a day-job, a side hussle and looking after a couple of cute kids, chances are, you don’t have much time for yourself. You can see how that would lead to exhaustion.
Essentially, if you’re feeling exhausted, beginning to hate your job or your business and you’re feeling like you’re not able to cope, you’re probably experiencing the first symptoms of burnout. Those symptoms are your body’s way of telling you to slow down and take a break. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
And if you choose not to take a little time off, then you can begin to experience more serious issues, which are symptomatic of long-term burnout. These include:
- Physical symptoms including headaches, gut or digestive issues and flare up of skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis
- Having a lack of energy and brain space, which can lead to procrastination and reduced creativity
- Difficulty completing everyday tasks – that could be simply sending an email or even just doing your laundry
How do I know this? Because I’m someone who reaches burn out all the time. I’ve got a day-job in digital marketing where I’m head of department, I’m working on building my own empowering feminist blog and I’m a perfectionist. The best way to keep an eye on whether you’re burning out is to watch out for the symptoms.
If you’re reading this, chances are, you think you might already be getting burned out. And that’s ok! By understanding that you’re there, you can actually start to do something about it.
How To Avoid Burnout
- Get Your Sleep
Sleep is amazing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to process information. Whereas poor sleep is linked to a worsened immune system and mental health. So make sure you get your 8 hours and practise good sleep hygiene.
- Get Some Exercise
A little exercise, even if you opt for a walk, is an amazing remedy to reduce the possibility of burn out. When you do some exercise, endorphins are released which reduce your perception of pain. This will help you to sleep better, feel less stressed and have more energy.
- Reach Out For Support
It’s okay to reach out for support if you’re struggling with burn out. Although friends and family might not fully understand, they will want to help you and feeling that love and affection alone will benefit you. If you really feel like your loved ones won’t understand, there’s lots of great business-owner support groups out there. Find one in your area and make new friends!
- Practise Self Care
Self care has never been more important. If you want to make it in the business world, you have to put your mental wellbeing first. And that might mean pushing a client call so you can go for a run, or taking ten minutes to practise breathing exercises. It all helps you to put yourself first.
- Set Boundaries With Yourself
We always hear about setting boundaries with other people, but what about with yourself? If you decide to stop working at 10pm, you need to actually stop working at that time. If you tell yourself that you’re taking Sunday morning to read and go for walks, you need to do that. I know that you’re likely to experience a little bit of a pull back to your business during these times off, but these will only benefit you in the long run.
If you’re building a business, it’s likely that you will experience burnout at one time or another. The real skill is to recognise the signs that you’re overworked before it all becomes too much and you start experiencing more long-term issues.