You hear entrepreneurs and experts warn about burnout, but how bad can it really be? After all, you deal with stress every day and you’ve handled it fine so far.
The truth is, no one is immune to burnout and you can’t always see it coming. And when burnout hits, it hits hard.
Caused by chronic high stress, burnout is known for the overwhelming sense of physical and emotional exhaustion it creates. Burnout can also make you feel cynical, helpless, and hopeless. You might feel apathetic about your work, wish you could give up, and even catch yourself self-sabotaging through procrastination and a negative attitude.
In the end, burnout tanks more than your mental health. It can tank your entire business. That’s why it’s so important to deal with stress before it becomes a problem. What does that look like in practical terms? Use these strategies from Be BOLD Psychology and Counseling to manage stress and keep entrepreneurial burnout at bay.
Take care of the basics
When your startup’s success or failure rests in your hands, it’s all too easy to forget about your own needs. However, no matter how urgent the items on your to-do list may feel, you’ll do them better if you take time to eat, sleep, and catch your breath first. Eat a healthy breakfast every day, start taking an actual break at lunch, and lose the habit of relying on junk food and coffee to get through the day. That’s easier with good sleep the night before, so give yourself a bedtime and stop checking your email at least two to three hours before bed. Work will still be there tomorrow, but you can’t catch up on lost sleep.
Balance your workload
If you’re working yourself to the bone, no amount of self-care will resolve your stress until you’ve dealt with it at the source. Set boundaries around your workday and be realistic about what you can accomplish. Many entrepreneurs swear by time blocking to become more intentional with their workday.
What if there’s simply too much work to do alone or you’re getting bogged down with complex tasks? Instead of running yourself ragged trying to do it all, hire people who can fill the gaps. For most entrepreneurs, that starts with a bookkeeper to improve recordkeeping practices and build a clear picture of company finances. Even hiring a freelance bookkeeper for a few hours per week is a big relief for overworked entrepreneurs. $11-$25 is the typical range for a certified bookkeeper salary although you may need to pay a little more for a bookkeeper experienced in startup finances.
One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is that there’s a ton of upfront work before you ever reap the rewards. Yet no one likes to give and give with nothing in return. Rewards provide encouragement and motivation to keep moving forward. Set milestones on the way to bigger goals and when you reach them, celebrate your hard work with a mini-vacation, a special outing, or a gift that improves your quality of life.
Find your community
Compared to working in an office with colleagues, being an entrepreneur is a lonely road. However, there’s tons of support out there for entrepreneurs if you know where to look. When you need to connect with people who understand the stresses and challenges of starting a business, look to online communities, virtual events, and local meetups dedicated to business owners and entrepreneurs.
While fellow entrepreneurs are a great source of business advice and moral support, some of life’s challenges are beyond the scope of your peers. If stress has you struggling with substance use, you need a professional who understands the research behind addiction and recovery. Be BOLD Psychology and Counseling takes an individualized approach to substance use and addiction counseling to find the path to recovery that works for you.
Stress impacts more than your health. Stress gets in the way of business goals too, and no amount of ambition or drive can overcome the cumulative effects of chronic stress. Instead of gambling with burnout, take control of your stress with these strategies. When self-care isn’t enough, contact Be BOLD Psychology and Counseling for therapy, groups, and evaluations.