Written by Erica Mitchell
At some time in our life we all experience burnout, and some of us will experience more than others. As entrepreneurs we may be more susceptible to work burnout, as we have this mentality that we can do it all, or that we have to do it all. We are driven for success, and sometimes there is a lot of pressure on us to prove that we can run our own business. With the pressure we put on ourselves, and the pressure we may get from others, we tend to forget how important it is to take time for self-care. The hardest part is recognizing and/or admitting that we are burned out.
Signs you may be Experiencing Burnout
Your to-do list keeps getting longer, and nothing is getting crossed off. You lack the energy, concentration and motivation to work on your business. Everything seems to be too much to handle. You feel like packing it all in. It’s like a hamster running on his wheel, he keeps running but doesn’t get anywhere.
Depression and Anxiety
You may start experiencing some negative self-talk. Comments like “I’m no good”, “I can’t do this”, or “It’s pointless” start running through your head. Your sleep and appetite are impacted. You may feel on edge and have no patience. Feelings of sadness and self-doubt can start taking over your life. Staying in bed all day seems like a really good idea. If you don’t recognize these as warning signs, unchecked these feelings can lead to experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Stress and burnout can lead to physical symptoms. You are more susceptible to colds and flus. Physical symptoms can present as stomach upset or pain, chest pain, racing heart, headaches, and dizziness. If you are experiencing any of these you should be seen by your physician.
What you can do
The first step is to be honest with yourself about how you are feeling. Admitting that you are struggling is not a weakness, but in fact a strength. Consult with your family doctor or other health care practitioner. Focusing on these important areas of your daily life can also help:
Establish a good sleep environment; you will want a cool, dark room free of noise. If you watch the clock to see what time it is, hide the clock. Hide the phone also (no checking emails in the middle of the night). Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning. Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least 4 to 6 hours before going to bed. Bed is for sleeping, not working. Incorporate some journaling into your night time routine. Write down your thoughts and worries and get them out of your mind. Try some yoga or meditation to help with relaxation.
Your body needs fuel to keep you going. Eating a well-balanced diet will help improve mood and energy levels.
Find some balance in your life. Life cannot just be work. Look back and see what enjoyable activities you have given up because of work. Add these back into your life. Prioritize each day to incorporate work, family, and fun. Take a break if you need to. It’s ok to give yourself a day off and rest. If you don’t rest and get yourself better, you’ll be missing a lot more days of work than just one.
Your own health and well being is more important than your business. Ask for help when you need it, take a break when you are feeling run down, reach out to others, and be honest with how you are feeling.
The bottom line: the better you are, the better your business will be.
Erica Mitchell is an Elite Mompreneur® Member from Guelph, Ontario, and she is the owner of Eugenio Counselling Services.
featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com