If you're anything like the majority of entrepreneurs, your reaction to challenging times is to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get to work. But while this is all right for short sprints, in the long-run, stress leads to several physical and mental consequences. Entrepreneurial burnout is, perhaps, the most common among these.
There's no official statistic stating exactly how many people have experienced burnout. Nonetheless, the fact that the WHO has recognized it as a condition influencing health status says enough. The condition is characterized by an extreme feeling of fatigue or exhaustion, cynicism, depression, and reduced productivity.
And the truth is, the entrepreneurial lifestyle is the perfect foundation for burnout. Long working hours, scarce opportunities for rest, and the mental and emotional burdens of keeping a company afloat can add up. But, that's not to say that success and mental health are mutually exclusive.
Are you wondering how to avoid burnout during stressful times? Here are the best ways to stay healthy and productive as an entrepreneur.
While employees often feel stressed at work, it's usually due to an unhealthy work environment. Often, they're being held to unrealistic expectations, dealing with strict deadlines, being insufficiently compensated for their work, or feeling undervalued. Still, these are all problems that can be solved with an open conversation. But when you're in charge, it turns out that a huge amount of the stress you're experiencing is, in fact, internally generated.
So, it's not a bad idea to consider your goals, your current actions, and your priorities. See whether there are any areas where you can give yourself some leeway. It's not uncommon that we're too hard on ourselves and this contributes to entrepreneurial burnout. And this is especially pronounced with driven individuals who have set themselves an ambitious goal.
You might find that something as simple as breaking up your business objectives into smaller actionable steps will take some of the pressure off. However, if you're already suffering from MDD, you really need to take therapy into consideration. Treatments like IV ketamine infusions can be of great help. Or, you could try to find ways to give yourself some space to blow off steam through committing a small portion of your time to a personal passion project. Even reading a motivational book or listening to a podcast might allow you to take an objective look at your goals and see where you can make improvements to your plans and timeline.
There's a tendency among entrepreneurs to glorify the hustle culture. Advice stating that you should be working anywhere between 60 and 95 hours per week isn't just unsustainable – it's unhealthy.
In truth, rest is an integral part of both avoiding burnout and working productively. So, aim to learn how to rest, not to quit. There are several ways you can implement more effective periods of recovery into your day, so find the ones that work best for you. Here are a few solid suggestions:
Another great thing you can do to avoid burnout is to schedule some time off. Avoid work during the weekends, or take a week off every few months to allow yourself to unwind.
One characteristic of great leaders includes the ability to recognize when they need help. And if you feel like you're close to burnout, this is an extremely important step towards a healthier life.
If you're suffering from high amounts of stress, consider talking to a friend or therapist. A career coach may also be able to help you identify the areas of your professional life that aren't serving you. Alternatively, you might find that bringing in reinforcements or outsourcing a part of your workload may prove to be an excellent way to take some of the pressure off.
Finally, understand that you may not be able to eliminate all stressors from your life. But, what you can do is equip yourself with the absolute best tools to prevent these stressors from causing burnout.
One popular way of dealing with overwhelming thoughts about work is to find a way to blow off steam. For a large portion of people, exercise is their preferred way of unwinding. Running, hiking, and yoga have all been shown to relieve stress, plus they contribute to a healthier and stronger body.
You could also try meditation or journaling. Both allow for inner reflection, acknowledging positive and negative feelings, and working through them in a way that mitigates stress.
Finally, don't forget about the importance of what you ingest in burnout prevention. A healthy, nutrient-rich diet could equip your brain and body with the fuel it needs to deal with difficult situations. Try to include more healthy fats, antioxidant-rich fruits, and caffeine-free hot beverages like herbal tea in your diet. This way, you'll be better equipped to take on your entrepreneurial duties.
Although entrepreneurial burnout can be difficult to treat when it occurs, its prevention relies on a few simple yet highly-effective methods of self-care. So, make sure you're not pushing yourself too hard. Take the time to listen to your mind and body, and do what serves you best. You'll find that it won't just prevent you from experiencing burnout, but also allow you to become better at what you do.