Avoiding the 'Burnout' as an Entrepreneur
Despite what the other half of the world seems to believe, owning a business is never a cake walk. First of all, do our brains really ever shut off? Mine doesn't. I once remember reading a quote that read, "If you ever want to know what a creative person's mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open. All. The. Time." This resonated with me because regardless of where I am - the shower, the grocery store, laying in bed or even reading my children a story, that nagging brain of mine is constantly running like a hamster on it's wheel. If it's not brainstorming ideas for an upcoming project or trying to remember what needs to be completed that day, it's worrying about finances and trying to surpass the previous month's sales. If I really sat down and figured out the numbers more regularly, I guarantee the amount of hours I put in would calculate to be far less than minimum wage. As an entrepreneur, you are lying if you say you don't work way too hard for the results you see. So why do we do it? If I am to answer that question, I thrive on challenges. I see an opportunity and know the rewards that will come from it. If not now, with my passion and drive, it will happen eventually. But is that dedication always there? The simple answer is no. I will fully admit there have been a couple (okay, plenty) of days I have laid in bed, not wanting to move. Whether anxiety, exhaustion or a low drive, it led me to want to sleep the day away. I knew I had a to-do list a mile long, but I was doing anything possible to avoid it at all costs. Why was I feeling this way all too frequently? After hopping online and doing some research, I knew I was experiencing what business folk refer to as the 'burnout.'
Before we dive into how to avoid this behaviour, let's clarify exactly what that term is defined as:
"A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations." – Ayala Pines & Elliot Aronson
It is important to note that anyone can become exhausted. What is so poignant about burnout is that it mainly strikes people who are highly committed to their work. You can only "burn out" if you have been "ignited" in the first place.
While for a lot, exhaustion can be overcome with rest, burnout is a deep sense of defeat and is generally never experienced by those that have a more pessimistic attitude towards work. That is why us entrepreneurs are more exposed to it.
Now, what are some ways we can avoid getting to this point? I have compiled a list of simple little actions we can take on a regular basis to recharge ourselves and keep our minds in a peaceful state.
I also spent some time polling fellow business owners to gather a few more ideas of what they find beneficial in these situations. One explained that running not only aided with stress, but it was also the time she got to spend by herself and focus on something other than work through breathing techniques. A couple of ladies said grabbing a coffee and wandering through a bookstore was all it took. Taking a tour somewhere new, baking a favourite treat or simply having a 30 minute power nap worked wonders for others. It is remembering to always take time out for ourselves. Whether it is 20 minutes or two hours, we are all human and need to refuel. Work will be there when we get back. Afterall, if our mind is not in the right place, how productive are we really?
Feel free to comment with any other suggestions that have worked for YOU!