As a business owner, you have the freedom to make your own schedule, work from anywhere you’d like, and take time off as often as you need. But we also know how easy it is to get wrapped up in work; thus overworking yourself that ultimately leads to burnout.
Burnout can lead to being emotionally drained, exhausted (no matter how much sleep you get), and depression (if it is not addressed). If you are feeling burnt out and are seeing a direct impact on your work and productivity, it may be time to take a step back, assess the situation, and figure out the steps on how you can alleviate the issue. If it’s not necessarily interfering with your work, but you’re on the verge of a breakdown, stop what you’re doing and follow these strategies to combat burnout.
Whether you’re currently suffering from burnout or you’ve gone through it in the past, know that you are not alone. In fact, this study shows that at least 7% of professionals are affected by burnout. Another showed that the percentage can jump up to 85% depending on what field/career one’s in.
A study conducted by a city college in New York found a direct correlation between depression and burnout, with 86% of people experiencing an overlap between the two mental states.
If those numbers weren’t alarming enough, it’s been found that you can catch burnout from others. That means that as a business owner, if you are experiencing it, you are more likely to pass it on to your employees, colleagues, business partners, and clients.
How To Save Yourself From Burnout
One of the most important things you can do for your mental health is looking inward and see what your core is telling you. If you’re too wrapped up in caring for your employees and your customers while setting aside time to care for your own well-being, you’re going to be left with nothing to give.
Take the time to reflect on what matters to you most. Identify your priorities—whether it’s family time, ability to be out in nature, or having nights out with your friends. Remember that figuring this out will help ensure that you carve out the time to accomplish them.
Understand The Levels of Burnout
Different tasks consume different amounts of energy. Responding to emails may feel like a walk in the park compared to putting together sales decks and presentations. Try using a scale of 1-10—with one (1) being extremely draining to ten (10) being very energizing; and rate your daily tasks. Do this for a week, and you will have a snapshot of what you enjoy doing the most and what may bbe draining your energy. While you are most likely expected to take on draining tasks, this rating practice can give you an idea on how to space things out and gain more control and balance juggling your responsibilities.
If you find that there are tasks you mentally cannot endure, delegate them to others. As a small business owner, you will find success with the right state of mind. Whatever your state is affects how your employees see their work and how they perform. Gather as a team, discuss mental health often, and learn to delegate tasks that, for others, may not be as taxing.
Block Out Time In Your Calendar
As a business owner always on-the-go, there are small chunks of time that you can have control over. Start your Monday mornings by reviewing your calendar and determining if any meetings can be canceled, moved, or done online rather than in-person. Give yourself buffer time in between meetings and calls—even if it’s just a quick five (5) minutes to recharge!
Also make sure that you have at least one to two enjoyable things/tasks on the calendar for the week that aren’t work-related. It could be date night with your significant other, a trip to your local museum, or movie night at home with some friends. This gives you something to look forward to all week so it looks a little less bleak.
Get Enough Sleep
I know what you’re thinking. We all know the importance of sleep, so why am I including it if it’s obvious? Well, if there’s something that isn’t as surprising, it’s that most of us aren’t getting enough. It may be due to the amount of time you allot for sleep, or the quality of sleep you’re getting. On some occasions, even if you allot 7-8 hours a day of sleep, you wake up feeling like you need more. Quality of sleep is as important as the amount of time you need.
With your mind running a million miles a minute or you’re spending the last hour of your day glued to your phone, it may be impossible to achieve the rest both your mind and body need. This is why make it a practice to turn your devices off or put it on a “do not disturb” mode. Place it out of arm’s reach, and focus on unwinding. Do what brings you to a relaxed state—this could be through writing, meditating, reading, stretching, listening to soft music, and such. When you incorporate this into your night routine, you should find yourself sleeping earlier and better.
Prioritize Your Health
Exercising and having a well-balanced diet naturally give humans more energy. Not only are they good for your physical health, but they give you a mental boost as well. If you’re short on time, consider brief walks during your lunch break, or a 20-minute workout in the morning before you start on work. Meal prepping also allows you to prepare healthy meals and saves you time in the morning, so you can focus on giving your body the nourishment it needs to take on busy days!
Final Thoughts On Preventing Burnout
If we’re not careful, burnout can take a toll on our physical and mental well-being. Being a business owner may mean you find it hard to pull yourself away from work, especially when your company is at the beginning stages.
However, you must learn to spot burnout warning signs early on, understand how this can impact you, adjust activities accordingly, and give yourself the time to recharge by pursuing things that spark joy. Doing so will not only help you evade burnout, but may even bring out a stronger and more resilient version of yourself.