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Believe me, I know what it’s like. You work tirelessly to grow your business while juggling all of the responsibilities that come with being an entrepreneur, and then you feel burned out. No matter how hard you try to fight it off or ignore it, that feeling just won’t seem to go away. You’re not alone in this struggle – many entrepreneurs experience burnout at some point in their careers. But there are ways to combat this problem and bounce back!
What follows are simply tips, and in no way constitute medical advice. If you truly feel you have a serious medical or mental health issue, please speak with a medical professional.
With that said, I’m here today with a few tips on how small business owners can avoid burnout:
1. Get enough sleep
It’s difficult to combat burnout if you’re not getting enough sleep. Make sure to get the appropriate amount of sleep every night (usually 7-9 hours) and take power naps when you can. If you’re a small business owner who has trouble finding time for naps, set an alarm to go off at your planned nap time so you can’t forget about it!
2. Take care of your mental health
Burnout is also usually related to depression or other mental illnesses. Take care of your mental health by getting professional help, taking medication as recommended by a doctor or therapist, or making any lifestyle changes that will address your symptoms.
3. Try out new activities that allow you to relax/unwind
Getting in the mood for some R&R? Take up a hobby like painting pottery or playing video games – just make sure it’s something that allows you to disconnect from work! Not into those things? How about going for walks, seeing a movie, practicing yoga, or engaging in a new activity with friends and family? Even doing something as simple as reading an interesting book can help combat burnout!
4. Learn how to delegate better
Burnout usually happens because you’re overworked and underappreciated. You can avoid feeling that way if you learn how to delegate tasks away from yourself! If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, hire a virtual assistant to help with admin tasks or find someone local who is willing to work part-time for your business.
5. Start taking more time off
We all know life as an entrepreneur isn’t always easy, so oftentimes we don’t take time out of our busy schedules even when we need it the most. Start slowly by planning one day this week where you take some time off – just spend it relaxing without doing any work at all (and make sure it’s obvious to clients and/or employees that are in touch with them). If you have time off planned for the weekend, then try scheduling a day or two of fun in the middle of that long-awaited weekend.
6. Reward yourself for your hard work!
Yes, entrepreneurship is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling…but it’s also often very stressful. That’s why it’s important to take some time out every once in a while to reward yourself. Choose something small (like an ice cream cone) or something big (like a trip to Paris) – whatever will make you happy! After all, treats are self-rewarding so be sure work doesn’t suffer too much because of them!
7. Exercise often
Exercise is an excellent way to prevent burnout and improve your mood! Exercise every day if possible or at least 3-5 times a week for about 45 minutes. Try different types of exercise, like swimming, working out in the gym, jogging/running outside, biking, stretching exercises at home (or with a friend), etc. Some entrepreneurs also find relief with physical therapy or massage therapy. Of course, speak to your physician before undertaking any new exercise routine.
8. Eat healthy and stay hydrated
Taking care of your body means more than just spending money on expensive supplements or health foods – you need to eat healthy and drink plenty of water too! Eating well means eating lots of fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens), whole grains (try quinoa!), nuts (like walnuts or almonds), legumes (like lentils), lean meats (like chicken or turkey), and avoiding processed junk food as much as possible. Drink water instead of sodas, juices, or other drinks with added sugar.
9. Collaborate with other entrepreneurs to share knowledge, ideas, and resources
In addition to being a full-time entrepreneur you may also be involved in your local entrepreneurial community as an attendee at events or presentations. By attending these events you get the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs who can offer advice on how to deal with burnout, share some tips on getting more clients/customers without hiring additional staff (which will help keep costs down), introduce you to people that can provide complementary services for your business (for example many software developers work with virtual assistants, so they can offer referrals to entrepreneurs who need help with that), and most importantly through the events you also get access to other resources which could be useful in your business.
10. Do something you enjoy outside of work every day for at least an hour or two (e.g., watch a movie)
Going out of your way to do something fun and distracting from work can make all the difference. Whether it’s spending time with yourself doing a hobby you love, going to see a movie, hanging out with friends or family, taking up a new class/activity like photography or calligraphy or scuba diving; whatever strikes your fancy!
11. Spend time with friends and family on a regular basis to take some pressure off the business side of things
One way to help with burnout is by letting your friends and family know about it so they can support you. This could mean telling them that you’re feeling down, asking for their advice when you’re unsure how to do something, sharing your goals if they ask what your plans are for the future, or any other number of positive interactions.
Burnout is a common occurrence in the entrepreneur world. Whether you’re feeling overworked and underappreciated or dealing with depression, this article has some helpful tips to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur. Sleep well, take care of your mental health, exercise often, eat healthy and drink plenty of water every day – these are just a few ways that entrepreneurship can cause stress on your mind and body.
If all else fails, try collaborating with other entrepreneurs to share knowledge about how they deal with their own struggles so you don’t feel alone! Your local entrepreneurial community may be able to offer advice on how to get out of burnout by networking at events or presentations hosted for aspiring small business owners like yourself.
It’s important not to let work consume your life to the point where you start feeling isolated, unhappy, and unmotivated.